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Find an individual who either played a sport or was a member of a support group. Search by last name by clicking on the first letter of the person's last name.

Mr. Ronald Dean Church, Sr. (Deceased)
Nickname: Dean

13 Micheal Drive
Luling, LA 70070

Home Phone:
Work Phone:
This tribute to Coach Shipley was written by Dean for the 2001 Shipley Reunion and is being used as his Living Memorial for the Tribute to Coach Shipley currently being constructed by his former players and support groups.
Deceased players had expressed themselves earlier about Coach Shipley. This profile was updated by Dr. Ed Dugas on Aug.30,2017 to be part of the electronic tribute to Coach Shipley.
Dean's obituary and other information are included below his Living Memorial.

1960-62, Spring '63-May '65

Hometown-Ashland, Kentucky. Married to Sally Evans(class of 1964) of Harvey, Louisiana. We have three children: Dean, Jr.(wife Amy) an attorney with a New Orleans firm; David(wife Leah) is in the oil and gas business and living in Broussard; and Anne(husband Mark)is a full time mother with three young boys living in River Ridge.

Dean went to LSU while both David and Anne received degrees from USL. Dean has provided us with two grandchildren, Andrew and Peter Church. We have lived in Luling, Louisiana for the past thirty years. I went to work with Avondale Shipyards in September 1966 and retired as Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer in January 2000.

Coach Shipley signed four players from Kentucky in his first year at SLI. He got Tim Thompson from Lexington and three from Ashland, Howard Humphries, Dale Griffith and my older brother, Don; so the Coach was familiar with the area.

In my senior year, we had a guy by the name of David 'Ditto' Sparks who the Coach was very interested in and he offered both of us a scholarship hoping if I signed, maybe Ditto would come too. As it turned out, I did sign But Ditto did not. I don't think the Coach liked the way that turned out. I read Coach Colwell's bio and he mentioned probably the worst decision I ever made in my life. At the start of my junior year, I was rooming with a freshman named Henderson Payne from Kentucky and we both decided that we would be better off back in Kentucky than staying in Louisiana so we did quit school and went home. When I got there, I went to work at a department store selling toys. It didn't take me long to understand how stupid I was to leave school. That year, USL was playing two games in Kentucky. I made up my mind that I would go see the games and ask Coach Shipley if I could come back. It took me a long time waiting outside his room to get up enough nerve to knock on his door. The last time I had seen the Coach, he was being held by two guys to keep him from beating me to a pulp and then having a car follow me to the city limits to make sure I left town. I finally saw the Coach and asked if I could come back. He said that if I really wanted to finish school, I could but only on his conditions and with no exceptions. I won't go in to all the conditions that I agreed to, but in the years 1964 and 1965, did anyone ever see him in a dirty car or shoes that were not shined?

I often look back and think what my life would have been had he not allowed me to return. I thank God and Coach every day for the way things worked out.

I am happy to say that we became friends (he was best man in my wedding) and remain friends to this day.

I was very fortunate to have received the following honors:

- GSC Player of the Year, 1964 and 1965
- NAIA First Team All-American, 1964 and 1965
- AP First Team Small College All-American, 1965
- Athlete of the Year in Louisiana, 1965(runner up-1964)
- USL Hall of Fame
- Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame
- Honoree at the State High School Top 28 Basketball Tournament
- President, College of Commerce, 1965
- One of 12 players selected by the U.S. State Department to go on a three month goodwill tour of Central and South America

As we look back and think of all the good friends we made and all the great times we had in the four plus years at USL, it could not have worked out better.

Coach Shipley, I only have two words for you, "THANK YOU".

Dean Church

* * * * *

Obituary: R. Dean Church Sr. - Men's Basketball 1960-65 - May 27, 2014

R. Dean Church Sr., Obituary

R. Dean Church Sr. passed away peacefully on May 27, 2014, surrounded by his family and friends. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sally Evans Church; his 3 children, R. Dean Church Jr. (Amy), David Church (Leah) and Anne Church Graffagnini (Mark); and grandsons Andrew, Peter, Mark, Matthew, Miles, Jacob, Julian and Joseph. He is also survived by his brother, Don Church (Cynthia); sister, Dollwinna Stewart (Jim); sisters-in-law, Corby Church, Diane Evans and Nancy Evans; and brothers-in-law, Frank Evans (Maurine) and Michael Evans (Rachel). Preceded in death by his father, Homer Church; mother, Susan Church; his brother, Roger Church; and in-laws, Frank and Lonnie Evans.

Born in Ashland, KY, on September 23, 1942, Dean was a two-time All-America basketball player at USL under Coach Beryl Shipley, where he played from 1961 to 1965. He was elected to the USL Athletic Hall of Fame in 1974, the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981, and had his No. 12 jersey retired by USL in 2012.

Dean enjoyed a 33-year career at Avondale Shipyards, where he retired as an Executive Vice President in 1999. He spent his retirement enjoying his family, playing golf with the "Krewe of 8:32" at Willowdale/Grand Ridge, working out at Elmwood Fitness Center and cruising on "The Second Collection."

Dean was a faithful parishioner of the Holy Family Catholic Church, 155 Holy Family Lane, Luling, where Mass will be held in his honor on Monday, June 2, 2014, with visitation starting at 8:30 a.m. and Mass at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be in St. Charles Cemetery, Paul Maillard Road, Luling, LA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dean's name to the Beryl Shipley Mended Hearts Scholarship, checks made out to the UL Foundation, and mailed to the UL Development Office, P.O. Box 43410, Lafayette, LA 70504.

MOTHE FUNERAL HOME, 2100 Westbank Expressway, Harvey, LA, in charge of arrangements. Family and friends may view and sign the online guestbook at www.mothefunerals.com

Published in The New Orleans Advocate from May 29 to May 31, 2014

Athletic Network Footnote:
Click here for Dean's Athletic Network profile.

Click here for video of "Dean Church: An Extraordinary Life"

Click here for the Dean Church photo gallery.

Our condolences to Sally and Dean's family. May the Peace of the Lord be with them and strengthen them during this time of sorrow.

Peace, Ed Dugas

* * * * * * * * * *

Update provided by Dean in Feb. 2012

A native of Ashland, Ky., Dean is married to the former Sally Evans ( USL ’64 ) of Harvey, La. They have two sons and a daughter : Dean, Jr.and wife Amy, David('90)and Wife Leah('90) and Anne Church Graffagnini('90)and husband Mark. They have five grandchildren: Andrew Church(21),
Peter Church(18), Mark Graffagnini Jr.
(4), Matthew Graffagnini(3) and Miles Graffagnini(8 months).

* * * * * * * * * *

Information provided by Bob Henderson, USL Sports Information Director, 1960s

Dean Church , All-American

1963-64 - Athlete of the Year - 1964 & 65

'65 Honors (National) - Associated Press Little All-America first team ... NAIA All-America First team (only repeater from NAIA's 1964 All-America first team) ...

Selected to All·South team in The Basketball News' All-America squad (one of the four players from small-college
teams named to this 40-players All-America list)

Church is the first player in GSC basketball history to earn first team honors on the Associated Press NAIA, and Basketball News All-South teams.

'65 Honors (GSC) -- Voted GSC Player-of-the· Year by both GSC Coaches and
Louisiana Sports Writers Assn. for second consecutive ;year ... also named to All-GSC first team by both GSC Coaches and LSWA a - second straight year (and 2nd team choice in 1961-62 season).

Topped all GSC players for second year in a row in total points (701 and 23.4 avg.), field goal percentage. (57.0%, made 237 of 416 att.), field goals scored (237), and GSC total points (284 in ten games)for a 28.4 avg.
Basketball- (M):  1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965