October 10, 1949 – May 31, 2022. Daniel Alan Dean, 72, of Salem, VA, left this world on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. Daniel was born October 10, 1949 in Salem, VA to Ray and Eunice Dean. He graduated from Andrew Lewis High School in 1970 and studied art at Virginia Western Community College.
Daniel was interested in almost every subject and those who knew him may recall long hours he could spend discussing any subject in detail. He was most passionate about art and design, and started Appalachian Sign Company in 1977. Over the next 42 years he created iconic signage for businesses throughout the Roanoke and New River Valleys. His creativity and talent are woven throughout this town. He designed the smallest logos to full scale wall murals, and worked in many different mediums, including drawing, painting, wood, and paper carving. From the Mac & Bob’s logo to the window and awning for the Market Street pub, Daniel’s work includes hundreds of hand-lettered signs and awnings. His careful, precise, and elegant work could not be missed.
He designed masterful artwork for any and every kind of business, from law firms, to rental companies, to barber shops, to baseball field advertisements. One of his most notable works was a mural at the former Mediterranean restaurant, Arzu. It depicted a sun setting over a busy Venetian port, complete with tall sailing ships, ornate buildings, curious onlookers, and brilliant oranges and yellows. It spanned an entire wall. To Daniel, every piece was just as important as the next. Every piece was done with the same intention, care, and patience.
When he wasn’t designing commercial pieces, he created artwork for his family. Daniel raised two daughters, Alex and Sarah, and he loved his family fiercely. He enjoyed himself wholeheartedly at family gatherings and he always looked forward to the next one. When anyone suggested a game, he was always up for joining in, and he was especially enthusiastic about charades. One of his best performances was of a quarterback celebrating a touchdown. His family will never forget how much he made them laugh.
Daniel was a dreamer and a believer; inquisitive and thoughtful. Any idea was worth exploring in his eyes. Anything was possible. He projected these beliefs onto his children. There were no limits to what they could achieve. A conversation with Daniel would leave you questioning everything you thought in the best way possible. We need more people like Daniel in the world, daring to ask questions, following curiosity where it leads, and choosing not to conform.
Daniel was a beloved father, brother, son, uncle, cousin, and friend, among many other roles. Anyone who knew him liked him. We will miss him dearly.
Daniel is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law: Sarah and Sam Denes; Alexandra Dean and Corin Vaughn; his granddaughter McKenna Daniel Vaughn; his siblings: Cynthia Van Dyke, Billy and Linda Dean, and Becky and Terry Duncan. He is also survived by his nieces: Rebecca Van Dyke, Lauren Powell, Danica Allen, Larissa Allen, Chelsea Nix, and nephew Chad Dunbar; and by family members Samantha and Forest Thompson.
Family and friends may pay their respects at Daniel’s graveside service on Saturday, June 18, 2022 at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens, 5737 Airport Rd NW, Roanoke, VA at 2 p.m. All are invited to attend a reception and memorial art exhibition at the Hotel Roanoke, 110 Shenandoah Ave NE, following the service, 3 – 6 p.m.