Dean Plese

WILMINGTON — Dean E. Plese Sr. passed away peacefully at home Friday (June 26, 2020) with his beloved wife and children by his side.

He was born at the Plese Family Farm on West River Road on Jan. 22, 1937, to John and Margaret (Berta) Plese, the sixth of their seven children, educated in Wilmington area schools, including the one-room Johnson Schoolhouse and St. Rose School before graduating from Braidwood High School in 1954.

Upon graduation, Dean entered the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Regiment where he was selected to serve as a Presidential Honor Guard and proudly served President Eisenhower in Washington D.C. After his discharge from the armed forces, Dean married Judith Ann Benson on Sept. 5, 1959, and together they made their home in Wilmington, where they raised six children.

During those years, Dean was active in many charitable causes particularly in support of St. Rose School and Parish including the Knights of Columbus where he achieved the designation of Fourth Degree Knight and was Grand Knight for two years.

In 1984, Dean, his wife and their four youngest children moved east to New York State where they lived until the fall of 1999 when they returned to Wilmington. Dean retired from Clark Construction as a general superintendent at the end of 2007, after which he kept himself busy maintaining the home he and Judy happily shared during their retirement years, traveling around the country and overseas and visiting family – especially their grandchildren, whom he especially loved and adored – and spending time at their lakefront home in northern Minnesota.

Survivors include Judy, his wife of 60 years; children, Dean (Stacy), David (Angela), Martin (Maureen), Anthony (Gabriel), Eric (Christine) and Maria; 12 grandchildren; and many other beloved family members including his four sisters, in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Dean will be terribly missed by his family and friends. “Heaven’s gain is truly our loss,” the family said.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until noon Wednesday, July 1, at R.W. Patterson Funeral Home and Crematory, Braidwood. All attendees will be required to wear face masks and follow current social distancing standards. A private funeral Mass will follow at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Wilmington, where Dean and Judy were married, all their children were baptized and where they attended Mass faithfully all the years of their shared life together. Private interment, with full military honors, will follow in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood.

Memorials may be made to Kuzma Care Cottage or Joliet Area Community Hospice.

Please sign his online guestbook at

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