Wendell Dean Van Meter

Published 4:42 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

Wendell Dean Van Meter, known affectionately as Dean, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on September 20, 2023. Born on March 10, 1956, in Winchester, Virginia, Dean was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. His life was marked by his friendly demeanor, selfless service, and courageous spirit.

Dean is survived by his loving wife, Neva Jane Van Meter; his sons, Mike Van Meter and Preston Van Meter (Bridget); his daughter, Britiany Ferguson (J.P.); and six cherished grandchildren. He also leaves behind his twin brother, Wayne Van Meter, brother Tony Ozley, and sisters Cindy Jones (Jimmy), Angie Brown (Lamar), and LaSha Bruce (Allan).

He was preceded in death by his father, Gene Van Meter and his mother Norma Jean Ozley.

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Dean’s educational journey was extensive and impressive. After graduating from West Point High School in 1977, he pursued a career in law enforcement. His training took him to various institutions, including the Alabama State Police Academy, the Federal Bureau of Investigations Law Enforcement Officers Training School, the Georgia Police Academy, and the Alabama Fire College, among others. His dedication to his profession was evident in his commitment to continuous learning and development.

Dean’s career in law enforcement spanned over 27 years, during which he served with distinction and honor. He was instrumental in introducing the first narcotic and bomb-sniffing dog in Chambers County and the fifth in the state of Alabama. His work took him to several departments, including the Chambers County Sheriff Department, the City of Lanett Police Department, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

Throughout his career, Dean received numerous awards and certificates, reflecting his dedication and commitment to his profession. These included the Outstanding Service Award from the Huguley Neighborhood Watch, the Honorable Service Award from the City of Lanett, and the Meritorious Service Medal from the City of Lanett, which recognized his highly unusual accomplishment of risking his life to save another. His service was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America, the Valley Jaycees, and the U.S. Marshals Service, among others.

Beyond his professional life, Dean was a man of faith, being a member of the Baptist church. His interests were as varied as his career, but his greatest joy came from spending time with his family. His friendly nature, selfless dedication, and courageous spirit will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Dean’s life was a testament to his unwavering commitment to serving his community and his deep love for his family. His legacy will live on in the hearts of those he touched, both in his personal life and through his distinguished career in law enforcement. His memory will be cherished by his family, friends, and all who had the privilege of knowing him.

A memorial service will be held for Dean on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 at 11:00 AM (EDT) at the Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley. The Reverend Rusty Letson will officiate. Dean’s family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 6:00 until 8:00 PM (EDT) at the Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley.

 Please visit Dean’s Memorial Tribute page at www.johnsonbrownservicefh.com to leave a kind word for his family, to share a memory of Dean, or to light a Remembrance Candle in his memory.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley directing.