The Ohio bluegrass family has lost a beloved member. “Big Mike” Dean, who played banjo with New Outlook, passed away on May 4. He was 64 years of age.
Mike always had a ready smile, a good joke (sometimes at your expense), a friendly ear, and plenty of time for everyone.
Since retiring from American Trim where he worked for 25 years as a polisher, he dedicated most of his time to his passions – playing banjo, camping, and shooting sports.
Lori Lambert of New Outlook was one of Mike’s dearest friends. She and her bandmates, Brad Lambert and Brian Scott, sent the following tribute for a man who was loved and appreciated by all who knew him.
“We were so blessed to travel the roads and make music with Mike Dean, one of the best banjo players ever. Mike joined New Outlook in 2016. He was not only a great banjo player, he was even a better human being. He was one of those guys that everyone would look for at festivals, and just sit down and pick one with him, or just to visit and talk about a variety of topics. Also, famous for his ‘Dean’s Beans,’ found at their campsite that Mike and his wife prepared. Everyone couldn’t wait to visit, eat, and pick!
Mike was a hard driving banjo player with the love of Flatt & Scruggs that showed in his playing. When you heard that banjo ring you knew it was ‘Big Mike.’ Mike played for many years and in several bands including New Outlook, Simple Tymes, Harbourtown, Mountain Furrow, and many others. Mike made his home in Sidney, OH with his wife Kris. Please keep the family in your prayers.
New Outlook will sure miss Mike more than any words can express. But Mike would tell us to keep pickin’ on! You can for sure know that we’ll do our best to keep Mike’s original and unique banjo tunes alive, and he will be on our minds and forever in our hearts.”
Funeral services were held on May 8, with Brad Lambert officiating. The family has suggested that any memorial contributions be made in Mike’s name to the American Heart Association.
Rest Easy, Big Mike.