Retired City Commissioner Billie Dean dies at 89 years old

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Billie Dean
In this file photo, just prior to his final City Council meeting as a commissioner on April 18, 2018, Billie Dean (l) shares a laugh with Commissioner Doug Bankson (c) and Jim Hitt, the city’s community development director.

Retired Apopka City Commissioner Billie Dean died at 89 years old. 

Dean served as City Council commissioner for 24 years, from 1994 until he announced his retirement from City Council Seat 2 in 2018. Alexander H. Smith was sworn into the same seat on April 24, 2018.

Dean was the second African-American to be an Apopka city commissioner, succeeding Alonzo Williams.

A retired teacher and activist, Dean originally set out to become a commissioner to bring modern facilities to South Apopka, affordable housing to the area, and strengthen ties between the city’s AfricanAmerican, Hispanic, and Caucasian communities.

Originally from Clermont, Dean moved to Apopka in 1963, fresh out of graduate school. After Dean relocated to Apopka, he was employed for six years as an agriculture teacher at Phillis Wheatley School.

In 1969 during the integration of Orange County Public Schools, Wheatley closed as a high school and all local high schoolers went to Apopka High. When that happened, Dean began a long career as an agriculture teacher at Apopka High School.

He was a Korean War veteran and a Bronze Star for Valor recipient.

Dean served as a member of the Florida League of Cities, as a board member of the Lake Apopka Natural Gas Board, and as a Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) representative for Land Grant Colleges and Universities on behalf of Florida A&M University, his alma mater.

In December 2019, the Billie Dean Community Center opened at Alonzo Williams Park. Among the building’s features are a media room with computers and a multi-purpose room.

Dean is survived by his wife Isadora Moye Dean. They are the parents of five and grandparents of three.

This is a developing story. The Apopka Chief will provide updates as they come.