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Fred Dean, Sack Specialist Who Ignited 49ers Dynasty, Dies at 68

  • October 17, 2020

At Louisiana Tech University, Dean led the football team to multiple national and conference titles. He was drafted by the Chargers in 1975.

His marriage to Irene Bolds ended in divorce. In 1990, he married Pamela Massie.

In addition to his son Mason, from Dean’s second marriage, she survives him, as do four children from his first marriage, Fred Dean Jr., Fredricka White, Fredia Stringfellow and Keith Bolds; two other children, Brandon Dean and Amanada Beach Dean; a brother, James Earl Dean; two sisters, Dessie Pruitt and Dorothy Dean; 15 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

After retiring from football, Dean suffered financial setbacks and developed medical issues, including diabetes. To pay his bills, he had to sell his Super Bowl rings.

His life stabilized after he obtained a master’s in theology from United Theological Seminary and Bible College in Monroe, La. He became pastor of New Nature Ministries church in Ruston.

In his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Dean reflected on the elemental struggle of being a defensive end.

“You get used to getting down in the dirt, getting your clothes dirty and wallowing a little bit,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘Hmm, I like the dirt.’”

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