Herbert Dean Kinsey

Submitted 2019 by Dolores Sonntag Kinsey.

His Early Years

Dean Kinsey (1932-2019)

Herbert Dean Kinsey was born on June 27, 1932, in Northwest Arkansas in his grandmother’s home in Siloam Springs. He grew up “redheaded and barefoot” in and around Flint Creek near Ozark Academy (now Ozark Adventist Academy). When he was 16 years old he decided on his own to attend that academy, and he worked his way through by stitching brooms in the academy’s broom shop.

When he finished high school at the academy, he was enticed and somewhat kidnapped into attending Southern Missionary College (now Southern Adventist University) in Collegedale, Tennessee. When he arrived by bus near the college, he asked the way to the college. “Just follow the railroad tracks. You’ll come to it by and by.” Dean worked hard to earn his way, again in a broom shop. He was the fastest stitcher, and he was preferred by the other workers to fix and speed up their machines.

Dream to Be A Boys’ Dean

Dean’s dream was to be a boys’ dean in an Adventist boarding school. He was inspired by his beloved boy’s dean at Ozark Academy, Gene Hass. So when he finished college in 1956, he and his wife, Martha, left for Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania. The school was only one year old and had decided to not waste the boys’ time with sports or other such entertainment, so the boys’ used their energies to tear up the dorm and to run off the dean that first year. When Dean arrived, the older boys warned him of what was in store for him. Dean knew boys—he remembered his own growing up years. He was only 24 himself, not much older than some of the boys, and he knew their needs. He converted a dormant Quonset hut into a gym, singlehandedly put up hoops, and marked out a basketball court, much to the dismay of the conference president. But it worked. And the conference president apologized for his doubts when he saw the improved attitude of the boys and that the dorm was still intact.

Dean spent the next nine years as a teacher and boys’ dean before going into administration. He became Director of Public Relations at Atlantic Union College. While there in Massachusetts, Dean commuted to Boston University and obtained a Masters’ of Education in School Administration. And it was here that he and Martha adopted two sons, Scott and Ricky.

Return to Ozark Academy

Dean’s career took a right-hand turn in 1969 when he became principal of his alma mater, Ozark Academy. After four years there, he went to Mount Vernon Academy in Ohio for three years, and then to Forest Lake Academy in Florida for seven years. He successfully guided all these into financially solid schools, one of his proudest achievements. His years as a student and as principal of three boarding schools caused him to become an enthusiastic promoter of boarding academies, believing that students mature intellectually and socially in that atmosphere, as well as develop leadership skills that serve them well in their future.

After Forest Lake, Dean had two more stops in Florida. First, he spent a year with the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in their Education Department. Then he was the Director of the Florida Hospital Nursing School, located on the Orlando hospital campus.

After Florida, Dean went back to Southern Adventist University in Tennessee to become Vice President for Alumni and Public Relations, where he wore many hats: alumni relations, radio station, Elderhostel, university publications, photographer, and fund raising. He loved the busy-ness of that position.

Move to California

Another career move was to be his—in 1990 he went to Loma Linda University in California, to work as Director of Development for the Schools of Medicine and Public Health. His major assignment was to raise money for research in the School of Medicine’s orthopedic department. A crowning moment was when he got to write out a check for a million dollars, to be signed by a grateful patient.

It was there in California that Dean and Dolores met. They served together on the church board and committees at the Azure Hills Church. They started a group for young adults in college and graduate school and called it The Young and Restless. (Dean liked to say they were the Young and he was the Restless.) Dean and Dolores developed a deep friendship during this time, which later became love and led to marriage and retirement. They chose Texas to live because that was where Dolores’ family lived. They chose San Marcos because it was near two large cities, it has an Adventist church and hospital, a university for watching basketball, and it had a river for fun.

Always energetic, Dean opened an independent financial services business, which he operated for 18 years in San Marcos. Dean also became the chief repairman and friend to the renters in the mobile home parks he and Dolores bought in Comal County, all the while planting flowers and bushes in their garden and upgrading their new home. He always planned to again start oil painting, buying brushes, oils, and canvasses, but somehow other things got in the way. He did write a lot, including a manuscript on the life of the apostle, Peter, and stories of his growing up years. And, he ran and biked many miles in the Hill Country.

So, Dean and Dolores put down roots in San Marcos almost 25 years ago, both of them living there longer than in any other place, and both living far longer in one house than ever before. The San Marcos Adventist Church was a huge blessing in their lives—that’s why they stayed so long! And the church family is why Dolores plans to live out the rest of her life there.