Dean W. Dickerhoof passed away January 9, 2024, in Midland, Texas. He was born on November 9, 1935, in Akron, Ohio, to Ralph and Daisy Dickerhoof. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Akron. It was there that he also met his future wife, Joy. Dean and Joy were married on August 27, 1958. They moved to Chicago where Dean continued his education, earning a master’s and doctorate in chemistry from the University of Illinois. Upon graduation, Dean accepted a teaching position at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. He taught undergraduate and graduate chemistry at Mines until his retirement in 2004.

As a young boy, Dean fell in love with trains. Trains were a life-long passion. He rode on trains, photographed trains and modeled trains. He read about trains and collected train memorabilia. He especially loved the Union Pacific. Dean’s daughters, Katerina and Cheryl, retain fond memories of family vacations that followed the train tracks, trips into Denver to visit the train hobby shops, and weekends spent at shopping malls for model train exhibits. Dean’s train friends remember train excursions, running model trains together, and his generosity with all he had collected.

Dean was a highly intelligent, talented man who accomplished many things, but it was not his accomplishments that defined him. Rather, it was his faithfulness in caring for what was important to him, whether it was teaching chemistry, enjoying trains, or providing for his family. It was Dean’s love for his family that took him to Midland, Texas, for the final stage of his life. He moved for his wife and his daughters.

Dean is survived by his wife Joy Dickerhoof, his daughter Katerina Scott and her husband Gary, his daughter Cheryl Fox and her husband Robert, and by his grandsons David Scott and Daniel Scott.

Dean joined N-Trak in the 1970’s, his corner module was built about 1977. One of the N-Trak publications has an overhead photo of Dean’s module at the 1977 Denver NMRA convention. His corner module was also featured on page 32 of the N-Trak “How-To” book published in 1984. Included is a photo of the module and a drawing of the track plan with write up about the construction by Dean.

Dean’s friend, Kent Charles, remembers the first time he saw Dean’s N-Trak module at the Jeffco Fair Grounds where the NRHS held an annual train show. Dean was a member of the NRHS and arranged for the N-Trak participation in the show. His module caught my attention because all of his industries were named after famous chemists or scientists. One name I remember was Avogadro’s. As a member of the NRHS he participated in several of their Train Rides as Car Host or Car Captain. These trains used UP engines and coaches and usually went from Denver to Laramie where the UP wye’d the engine and returned to Denver. He was also a long-time member of the Forney N Scale Club and helped in the construction and operation of that layout until it was dismantled. Today it is known as the Moffett Modelers.

After Kent built his first N-Trak module, Dean and I would travel together to many different shows. One of my most memorable trips with Dean was to the 1st N-Scale National Convention in Houston in 1983. I drove my old Green PU and Dean navigated. When I picked him up to start the trip, he had a thick black binder full of notes about all the places and Depots he wanted to photograph along the route. We went where I had never been before, places like Gene Autry, Oklahoma. His organizational skills and attention to detail were impressive. We also traveled together to several NMRA conventions where we participated in the N-Trak layout that was part of the Train Show. Dean became interested in the Train Show and joined the staff sometime in the 1990’s which organized each year’s show. He was really enthusiastic about each show and spent countless hours planning and overseeing the show. This reminds me of another memorable trip together, to the 1997 NMRA Convention in Madison, WI. Shortly before the convention Dean suffered a leg injury playing Handball with another Professor which required him to wear a cast on his foot. Dean would not give up to injury, he rode the entire trip from Denver to Madison and back in the back seat of my car.

Dean’s module marking 40 years old
Dean’s corner module
Dean at one of the DeNtrak Session