September 18th, 1955 – July 28th, 2021
Dean Mikes passed away at the age of 65 on July 28, 2021. With great strength and an uplifting spirit he faced the many challenges of ALS for over three years. Even though Dean endured incredibly hard times due to the life-changing effects of the disease, he was always more worried about those around him than he was of himself. Dean’s courage and positive attitude during his illness was inspirational much like his impact on others throughout his life.
Dean was born on September 18, 1955, in Great Falls, Montana, to Harold (Hal) and Margaret (Merle) Mikes. He grew up and attended school in Cascade, Montana, where he enjoyed participating in sports and spending time on his Grandparents’ ranch. During his time on the ranch, Dean learned what it meant to work hard, enjoy nature, and have fun. He also learned to have an appreciation for animals and how to care for them and was involved in 4-H. Dean took it upon himself to help others even at a young age and was known to stand up against bullies to protect himself and others. Dean’s desire to care for others later led him to go into the Pharmacy profession. Dean graduated from the University of Montana with a Pharmacy degree in 1979. He started his pharmacy career in Seattle, Washington, at Swedish Hospital.
Dean met his wife, Cindy, in Missoula in 1981 at the wedding of Dean’s brother and Cindy’s sister. They were married five months later. Dean and Cindy lived in Washington State where their son, Devin, was born in 1984. They moved to Missoula in 1985 when Dean took the Director of Pharmacy position at Community Medical Center. Their daughter, Nacole, was born that year and their youngest son, Nathan, was born in 1986. Dean often said that his greatest accomplishment was his three children and the people they became. He was grateful how his children, his wife and other family members were always by his side to support and help him through every challenge he faced with ALS.
Dean truly enjoyed his work and the people he worked with during his 33 years at CMC. Dean’s love of Pharmacy inspired his wife, his youngest son and his wife to also become Pharmacists. His appreciation for CMC also inspired his daughter to go into the medical field and to establish her career as a nurse there.
Dean had a passion for anything on wheels. This included racing, collecting, and building cars. His favorite and most impressive racecar was his Shelby Cobra that he constructed from scratch with his friend, Jim Wilson. Dean enjoyed racing and competing in SCCA events for many years and he didn’t let his ALS symptoms get in the way of winning more racing trophies. His love of cars and racing inspired his three children to race when he no longer could, which made him overwhelmingly happy. Dean was also happy to see each of his sons take ownership of one of his cars. Devin refurbished and proudly owns Dean’s 1956 Chevy. Nathan owns and races Dean’s 1978 Datsun 280z. They both enjoy continually improving upon the cars in Dean’s memory.
Dean enjoyed spending time with his family boating, waterskiing and camping on Flathead Lake. He and his children enjoyed hunting on the family ranch, where they hold some of their fondest memories of their Dad. Dean made exercise a priority and was an avid runner. One of the hardest parts of living with ALS for Dean was dealing with the inability to stay physically active. He spent much of his time learning about every future hope for a cure for ALS. He was hopeful that others would not have to endure what he went through because of future advancements in research and treatment. Dean found joy in the nature that surrounded his home including the mountains, trees and pond in his back yard that attracted all kinds of wildlife such as turtles, birds, foxes and deer. He would look forward to the time of evening when the waves of the pond would reflect on the rocks nearby.
Dean was preceded in death by his Grandparents, Ed and Margaret Freiboth, and his parents, Hal and Merle Mikes. He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and his children Devin (Sladja), Nacole (Tom), and Nathan (Tammy) and his beloved dog, Ozzy; his brother Wes (Kim) and their son Jordan (Maria) and grandchildren, Gavin and Blaire; his sister Josie Gordon (Steve) and their children, Dain (Diane) and Ahnna (Michael); and brother Tracy (Kelly); his aunt, Carol Rae Green and family, and many other family and friends including Jim Wilson, Dan Loveland and Bob Bell.
Special thanks to Partners Hospice, Norco, Hestia and the ALS Foundation.
There will be a Celebration of Life on Dean’s birthday on September 18, 2021, at 1:00 at Garden City Funeral Home at 1705 W. Broadway in Missoula. In honor of Dean’s love of cars, please bring your favorite vehicle.