Henry Dean Applegarth Profile Photo
1938 Dean Applegarth 2024

Henry Dean Applegarth

June 28, 1938 — March 27, 2024


Obituary for Dean Applegarth

Born: June 28, 1938

Death: March 27, 2024

Henry Dean Applegarth was born in his Grandma Oakley James (Taylor) Ayer’s bed on June 28, 1938, in Choctaw, Oklahoma to his proud parents Andrew Joseph Applegarth II and Irma Maxine (Taylor) Applegarth while his father Joe was working in the oil fields in Wyoming to earn money during the depression. They were there for several years, returning to the Sandhills where Joe was employed on various ranches. The family ended up living on the historic 86-section cattle ranch called the Dumbbell Ranch north of Hyannis, Nebraska. At that time, the ranch used only horses to do the ranch work. As he grew up on the ranch, Dean learned to break horses and specialized in training the large draft horses. The lessons he learned from working and training horses were transferred to his lifelong love of people and working with them in whatever category was necessary and especially in the field of education.

Dean and Margaret were friends since sixth and eighth grade, and when Dean transferred back to Hyannis High School, they began dating and were married on December 25, 1958, at the Episcopal Church in Hyannis, Nebraska. Into this union was born Rebecca Lynn, Joseph Dean, and Floyd Daniel Applegarth. Dean attended and graduated from Chadron State Teachers College with a Degree in Education. The family moved back to Hyannis where he began teaching at a rural school, District 143 (a K-8 school), more commonly known as Dumbbell School. It was the same school where he had graduated from the eighth grade. It had no electricity or running water and had a stove that was manually started every morning for heat. The water was produced by a windmill and then placed in a big crock. The school had an outhouse and a stall for a horse which Dean used often because he rode Margaret’s horse “Star” to work frequently. He was blessed to teach his little sister Lori Lea, his cousin Tresa, Margaret’s cousin Dean Edelman, and many other wonderful students including the four Jeary girls—considered family to this day.

The family left the school after five great years and moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where Dean changed occupations to become an insurance adjuster for General Adjustment Bureau. His job led to transfers to McCook, Nebraska, and produced new opportunities for work as well as the chance to engage with people from all walks of life. In Omaha, he worked out in a gym where famous professional wrestlers trained. Dean soon became good friends with them, and he began the journey himself of becoming a body builder. He even competed in a couple of Mr. Nebraska contests. His love for powerlifting began in high school when he had

become good friends with Gene Rader whose father owned Iron Man Industries in Alliance, Nebraska. It was the Muscle and Fitness magazine of that era.

As an insurance adjuster, he was often separated from his family, so he took a job managing five lumber yards owned by Wacker Elliot and Wacker and lived in McCook, Nebraska for a stint. Being in that area, he met the president of the school board in Edison, Nebraska, a small town nearby to the south. The president called the school board together and they hired Dean on the spot to be the principal of the grade school. Danny was born during this time and was delivered by Dean’s best friend, Wayne Weston, who was a medical doctor in Lexington, Nebraska. The family spent three years there until Dean applied to work for the federal government in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was hired to teach at Manderson Day School on the Pine Ridge Reservation. During this time, he earned his Master’s Degree in School Administration from Black Hills State University and was honored at a Pow Wow at Wounded Knee in the summer of 1972 and was given his Lakota name, “Wambli Tokahe” (Leading Eagle or First Eagle.) He was made principal of the school the day before the infamous Occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. He got to experience firsthand the AIM standoff at Wounded Knee that made national headlines.

During his time as a teacher, he was elected to become an advocate for fellow teachers and to be the president of NFFE (National Federation of Federal Employees) for North and South Dakota where he served two terms. Due to his advanced education, he was transferred to Pine Ridge where he became principal of the Pine Ridge High School for a year. Soon after, he took the Project Director position at Loneman School in Oglala, South Dakota. He aided in the transfer of that school from being a Bureau of Indian School to a tribal operation.

In 1976, Dean switched careers and became a locomotive engineer on the Burlington Northern Railroad, which he said was the best job he ever had. He enjoyed driving the coal trains and was able to make many friends. During that time, Dean started a home rental business in Chadron. He and Margaret owned and operated around 50 rental properties, taking old properties, renovating them, and converting them to be an asset to the community. They were the biggest landlords in Chadron during that time.

Dean had a colorful and unforgettable personality. He was good natured. He never met a stranger. He treated everybody the same no matter what station in life they were at. He loved being around people and couldn’t get enough of it. He always encouraged everybody he met to advance their life, be the very best that they could be, and to always remain positive. After his retirement, he spent a lot of time with

his grandchildren who were the joy of his life. He and Margaret were inseparable and went everywhere together. They were deeply involved with the Joseph and Sheryl Applegarth Country Gospel Band and drove the parade floats in every parade for over thirty years. Dean and Margaret got involved with the Nebraska GOP and had the pleasure of meeting a host of incumbents and representatives. Dean and Margaret were married for 65 years until his death on March 27th, 2024. He is sorely missed.

Survivors: Wife, Margaret Alma Applegarth, Chadron, Nebraska; Sister, Linda (Larry) Cleveland, Hyannis, Nebraska; Daughter, Rebecca Mayhew, Mesa, Arizona; Son, Joseph “Jody” (Sheryl) Applegarth, Chadron, Nebraska; Son, Floyd Daniel “Danny” Applegarth, Chadron, Nebraska; Grandchildren: Harmony Brown and significant other Sergio Robles, Mesa, Arizona; Jesse Gaspers, Lompoc, California; Becky (Derek) Harris, Alliance, Nebraska; Nicky (Zach) Banzhaf, Chadron, Nebraska; Jazmin (Kevin) Blanch, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Daniel Dean “Dexter” Applegarth, and significant other Sydney Brown, Chadron, Nebraska.

Great grandchildren, Jaren James (Abby) Brown, and soon to be great, great grandson, Jameson Jiraiya Brown, Ashland, Tennessee; Maddie Brown, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Preceded in death: Parents, Joe and Maxine Applegarth, Sisters: Nancy Orr, Kay Galliher, Lori Applegarth, and Great Grandson, Jalon Brown.

Note: Dean’s Celebration of Life will be held at Chamberlain Chapel in Chadron, Nebraska, on June 1, 2024, at 10:00 a.m.

His graveside service will be held in Hyannis, Nebraska, on June 28, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. at the Hyannis cemetery in Hyannis, Nebraska.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Henry Dean Applegarth, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 1, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Friday, June 28, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Hyannis Cemetery, Hyannis, NE


Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1754

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree