Johnston City father raising money to dedicate park in son's memory

Father hopes to rename park after son in Johnston City

JOHNSTON CITY, IL (KFVS) - Jimmy Dean's son, Mike, died in a car accident outside of Carbondale in 2006. He was a business teacher at Sesser-Valier High school and a beloved member of his community, according to his father. He was 25-years-old when he died.

"He was your typical good kid," he said, "Had a good life ahead of him; well respected; the funeral director called it the biggest funeral visitation he's had."

Dean said he found out the city was planning to renovate a park by his house behind Washington Middle School. He approached the city council with the idea to name the park the Micheal Dean Memorial Park if he raised $15,000 to go into the renovation fund.

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Right now, the park has a couple swing sets, a small jungle gym, a large slide, an empty sandbox, and another playground set that appears to have been warped due to weather.

Dean said there are big plans for the new additions to the park.

"To my understanding, it's gonna be all new equipment, leveled off, some kind of safety turf. It's gonna be first class," he said.

Dean said he's hoping the renovations are done and the park renamed by the end of the summer. When it is, he believes his son will look down happily at it.

"Every time I see somebody come out here and play on this equipment and they get joy out of it, to me, it's a good feeling because I know that's what Mike would want. And it makes me feel good to know that I helped have a part of it," he said.

If you'd like to donate to the Michael Dean Memorial Park, you can contact the Johnston City Hall at (618)-983-6651

You can also contact Jimmy Dean directly by phone at (618)-889-5797 or email at

He says the donations are tax deductible.

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