“Nathan was probably the hardest working senator at the time or ever,” said Austin, in his 17th year as Dallas mayor. “We will never know the depth and breadth of his extent.”
Dean died Saturday at age 79 in his hometown of Rockmart. He served 42 years in the Georgia General Assembly, including 30 years as a state senator representing Paulding County from 1974 to 2004.
Ga. Hwy. 61 in Dallas bears Dean’s name.
During his time in the Legislature Dean served with eight Georgia governors. At least four former governors were scheduled to attend or considered attending the Tuesday funeral, Austin said early this week.
“It says a lot about a man when you can get four of the six living former governors together to honor him,” said Austin, who was an officiant with former governors Joe Frank Harris, Roy Barnes and Sonny Perdue.
Dean voted on legislation which led to historic changes including the widening of U.S. Hwy. 278, creation of the Georgia Lottery, the MARTA train-bus system, and the Silver Comet Trail.
Austin said Dean lived in the former mill town area called Goodyear Village in Rockmart his entire life, and never forgot where he came from.
“That is rare in politics today,” he said.
According to an obituary posted on the Freeman Harris Funeral Home web site, “During his time in the Georgia Legislature [Dean] was known as a hardworking and effective member.
“Nathan loved the people of Georgia and the 31st Senatorial District and worked tirelessly to make northwest Georgia a better place. He is quoted as saying, ‘I was born to serve people and shake hands.’”
Funeral services for Dean were Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Rockmart. Burial followed in Rose Hill Cemetery with Masonic graveside rites.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Ann Carpenter Dean of Rockmart; two sons and daughters-in-law, Alan and Durand Dean and Scot and Keri Dean, all of Rockmart; and three grandchildren, Steven, Ana Scott and Mason.