Mary Louise Turner was born in 1907 in Ohiopyle, Fayette County, PA, the daughter of Frank and Bertha Turner. Tragically, her husband was killed in a coal mining industry accident in the heyday of the industry in Western Pennsylvania. She, too, died far too young.
Mary Louise married a step-cousin, Charles William Dean Sr. (1900-1933), the son of Warren McEwen and Bessie (McNutt) Dean Sr. Their photograph portraits, seen here, adorn their respective grave markers at the Cove Run Cemetery near Uniontown.
The Deans had five sons -- Charles William Dean Jr., David Lewis Dean, Rev. Frank Warren Dean Sr., Vincent Valentine Dean and Edward Everett Dean.
In 1933, the family resided in the coal mine patch town of Keisterville, near Uniontown, where Charles' father also made his home. Mary Louise is thought to have been expecting their fifth son that summer.
Heartache struck three times between July and September 1933. The first wave of death was on July 3, 1933, when Charles was killed in an accident at the Keisterville mine. The accident made front-page news in the Connellsville Daily Courier, but no obituary was published in the nearby Uniontown newspapers, suggesting that bad news may have been suppressed during that time. The Courier article reported that Charles was:
... unemployed for almost a year [and] was instantly killed Monday shortly after entering the Keister mine to begin work as a miner. He was caught beneath a fall of slate, suffering a fractured skull and a broken neck... The funeral was conducted in the family residence this afternoon in charge of Rev. R.E. Spiker, district elder of the Free Methodist Church.
A grandson recalls that in addition to the fall of slate, a stubborn mule was involved in the tragic sequence of events that led to the fatal accident.
Charles' remains were laid to rest at the Cove Run Cemetery near Uniontown. His grave marker was inscribed, "Farewell ... until we meet again. Beloved, how we miss you." Ironically, his uncle Isaac N. Dean (husband of Mary Belle Minerd) also was killed in a coal mining accident some 20 years earlier, and also rests in the Cove Run graveyard.
Just a little over two months after Charles' death, their son David Lewis Dean died at the tender age of 10 months, on Sept. 10, 1933. After a funeral at the Keisterville Church, young David was interred in the family plot at Cove Run. The Uniontown Morning Herald attributed the death to "a complication of diseases." The boy's grave marker was inscribed, "A lovely flower has faded."
Less than a week later, on Sept. 14, 1933, another of the Deans' sons -- Charles Jr. -- passed away at home, at the age of five. He was buried beside his father and young brother at Cove Run. His photograph portrait was embedded in his grave stone, which is still very easily seen today. The marker features the following inscription: "Darling, we miss you."
How Mary Louise, who was 26 and expecting another baby, dealt with her unspeakable grief is not known. It is believed her son Edward was born in the months following the triple tragedy. She and her young, fatherless sons Frank, Vincent and Edward lived with together in Keisterville, where their company-owned house and heating coal were provided at no charge. (Other distant cousins making their home in Keisterville during these years included Thomas Michael Minerd, Stella (Minerd) Hager, Caroline (Minerd) Lambert, William Minerd and Mary Ellen (Minerd) Rodeheaver.
Later, when the house in Keisterville was sold circa 1941, perhaps due to a change in ownership of the mine, the Turners relocated again, to Ohiopyle, Fayette County.
Mary Louise eventually married again to Eugene S. Shipley (1920-1993) of Ohiopyle. She was a member of the Ohiopyle Methodist Church.
Sadly, Mary Louise only lived for another 13 years after her first husband's death. At the age of 39, on Oct. 22, 1946, Mary Louise died at the Uniontown Hospital. The funeral was held at the home of her parents on the Farmington- Ohiopyle Road, followed by additional services in the Ohiopyle Methodist Church, led by Rev. Jacob Kooser. Unlike her first husband, she received a detailed obituary in the Morning Herald.
Mary Louise was buried beside her husband and young sons. Like her husband's, the grave marker for Mary Louise's was inscribed, "Farewell ... until we meet again."
The orphaned sons -- ranging in age from 12 to 17 -- were taken into the home of their grandparents, Bertha and Frank Turner, in Ohiopyle. Tragedy struck once more that same year, 1946, when the boys' grandfather Turner was killed in an automobile accident.
Eugene survived Mary Louise by more than four decades. He married again to Dora K. Anderson (1920-2004). He passed into eternity in Connellsville on July 30, 1993 and is buried in the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Mill Run. Dora lived for another 11 years and was gathered up by the Grim Reaper on May 16, 2004.
Over the years, the sons attended Turner reunions. We are grateful to grandson Charles William Dean for sharing information for this webpage.
~ Son Rev. Frank Warren Dean, Sr. ~
Son Rev. Frank W. Dean, Sr. (1929-2009) was born in 1929. He was age four when his father was killed, and age 17 when his mother died.
Frank attended Ohiopyle High School and is pictured among the junior class in the 1946 yearbook, The Ohiopylean. His entry reads: "Determination to win; brilliant and self-reliant," with the ambition to become a civil engineer and his hobby as reading. Finding the strength to rise above his early life losses, Frank was valedictorian of the Ohiopyle Class of 1947.
He married Jessie J. Louise Wiedman (1931-living), daughter of Rev. James and Stella (Snedden) Wiedman.
They had six children -- Mary Louise Coffman, Frank Warren Dean Jr., James Edward Dean, Thomas Leslie Dean, Charles William Dean and David Allen Dean.
He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in the U.S. Army, including a stint in the occupation of Japan. Upon his discharge from the military, said the Uniontown Herald-Standard, he "did accounting work for Fox Glass Company from 1964 to 2004. From 1967 to retirement in 1994, Frank worked for the Commercial National Bank in Latrobe."
Active in Christian ministry, he was "involved with the Fay-West Youth for Christ organization from its origin in 1957 until 1982 and was involved when Youth for Christ united with the ministry of Penn Highlands Teens for Christ. Frank served as President of District 12 of the Fayette County Sunday School Association for many years as well as being on the Fayette County Board. Frank was also a longtime member of the Rotary Club and a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award." In addition, he spent a half-century, from 1956 to 2006, as pastor and youth leader of the Pleasant Valley Community Church in Bullskin Township, north of Connellsville.
Frank and Jessie divorced in 1981, yet he continued pastoring and she, at the age of 75, returned to serving God and became a missionary to teach educators in Togo, Africa.
Frank died at age 80 on Oct. 4, 2009. At the time, he was survived by 20 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was laid to rest at Normalville Cemetery. (Our reunion-goers may recall that we toured this cemetery in 2006.)
Daughter Mary Louise Dean (1951-2013) was born on New Year's Eve 1951 in Connellsville. At the age of 32, she wed Donald Coffman ( ? - ? ) on April 18, 1983. They had seven children -- Michelle Coffman, Kelly Addis, Tracy Coffman, Dean Coffman, D.J. Coffman, Sammy Skipper and Perry Skipper. They eventually moved to Desert Hot Springs, CA. Active in health care over the years, she was a licensed vocational nurse for two decades and served as a nurse for former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford. She was a leader in the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and a foster parent in coordination with the HUGS Foster Agency. Sadly, Mary Louise died of cancer at age 61 on March 2, 2013, in Desert Hot Springs. Memorial services were held in California and also at Pleasant Valley Community Church in Connellsville.
~ Son Vincent Valentine Dean, CPA ~
Son Vincent Valentine Dean, CPA (1931-living) was born on Feb. 16, 1931 in Menallen Township near Uniontown, Fayette County. He was but two years of age when his father was killed and 15 years old when his mother died.
Vincent attended Ohiopyle High School and is pictured among the sophomore class in the 1946 yearbook, The Ohiopylean. His entry reads: "witty, cheerful and full of friendliness. Skillful; a perfect tease,," with the ambition to become an aviator and his hobby as "collecting of foreign coin.
He married Virginia Staubs (1932-living), and they had three daughters, Cynthia Dean, Connie Dean and Cathy Dean.
Later, he was wed two more times, to Betty Green (deceased) and Karin Thompson.
Vincent was a 1948 graduate of Ohiopyle High School. Following graduation, he served in the U.S. Air Force and attended Army Language School in Monterey, CA. He rose to the rank of staff sergeant and served in Texas and Alaska before his honorable discharge in September 1953 following the end of the Korean War.
After the war, Vincent joined Foster Industries' accounting staff and also attended Benjamin Franklin University in Arlington, VA. There, he received a bachelor of commercial science degree in 1962 and a master of commercial science degree in 1963. Upon receiving his undergraduate degree, Vincent was promoted to chief auditor at Foster Industries. He received his certified public accountant (CPA) designation in Virginia in 1964 and went on to a a career spanning decades in the profession. He opened his own firm in 1979 and was a member of the Virginia Society of CPAs. In May 2008, the VSCPA honored him with a prestigious Life Member Award for membership spanning more than 40 continuous years, one of only 214 CPAs in the commonwealth to have received this distinction.
Active with his alma mater, he served for more than 20 years with the board of governors of the BFU Alumni Association and was president from 1986 to 1988. In 1997, he was bestowed with the Special Recognition Award in Private Practice and Civic Affairs by the president of the alumni association. and in 2008 was profiled in the BFU alumni newsletter.
Vincent resided in Fairfax and Chantilly, VA and today lives in Aldie, VA. His hobbies include coin collecting and traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands where he and his wife enjoy a timeshare unit. He also has been an avid blood donor.
~ Son Edward Everett Dean ~
Son Edward Everett Dean (1934-2001) was born on March 24, 1934 at Keisterville, a coal mining patch town near Uniontown.
He married Joyce (?) and they had two sons, Stephen Dean and Gregory Dean.
Edward served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and was an airborne radio operator in the military for more than two decades. He also was employed as an electronic technician with the U.S. Postal Service, from which he retired. After two decades in the Air Force, he received a degree from a college in Kansas City, MO. He had a high "intelligence quotient" (IQ) and was a member of MENSA, an international society for individuals scoring in the the 98th percentile or higher on its IQ intelligence tests.
They later relocated back east to Englewood on the outskirts of Dayton, Montgomery County, OH.
Edward died in Dayton on Oct. 6, 2001, at the age of 67.