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Dean Frederick Saxton Jr

December 24, 1922 - January 07, 2023
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Brandon Solarez

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Dean Frederick Saxton Jr

December 24, 1922 - January 07, 2023

Dean Frederick Saxton Jr, 100, stepped into eternity on 7 January 2023, surrounded by loving family in Tucson AZ. Join us at 10:00 a.m. on 18 March 2023, at University City Church, 604 N 6th Ave, to celebrate his life.

Dean Jr was born to Dean and Margaret Victoria Saxton on 24 December 1922 in Detroit MI, grew up on a small farm in Southfield with siblings Molly, Bill and Margaret, graduated from Redford Union High School (’41), and attended Michigan State College (MSC, now MSU) in Lansing. He served in the Army (’44-45) and Navy (’45-46) in the Great Lakes area, returning to MSC to complete his veterinary degree (DVM ’49). Graduating from Fuller Seminary (MDiv ’52), he proceeded immediately to the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) at the University of Oklahoma (Norman). On registration day he met the love of his life, New Jersey-born Lucille Mary MacFeeters, and they were married 4 October 1952.

As members of Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL, Dean and Lucille requested assignment among the Papago (and Pima), now the Tohono O’odham Nation (TON), of Arizona. In 1947 Papago Tribal Chairman, Thomas Segundo, had requested help to preserve their O’odham language and culture. From 1953 on, Dean and Lucille lived in Tucson or on TON lands. They facilitated the work, cooperating with a long list of O’odham speakers to produce O’odham literature: the Papago & Pima Dictionary (1969); O’odham Hoho’ok A’agida / Legends and Lore of the Papago and Pima (1973); Jiosh Wechij O’ohana / O’odham New Testament (1975); as well as a multitude of hymnbooks, several Old Testament books, and numerous booklets throughout the years. In the 1980s they also worked in cooperation with New Tribes Mission personnel to produce literacy materials among the linguistically related Pima Bajo (Mountain Pima) of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico.

Dean loved music, learned to play piano ‘by ear’, and lulled his children to sleep at night playing hymns. Lucille’s gift of hospitality often brought a crowd to their table for good food, games, conversation and laughter; their love was infectious. Most of Dean’s life he tried to stay in good physical shape, despite a compromised respiratory system, in order to be able to serve others. With the blessing of the Tucson Veterinary board, he was voluntary emergency veterinarian for cattle, horses and pets on the reservation. He loved learning and helping others learn, taught classes for Sunday school, summer Bible camp, O’odham language by extension with the University of Arizona and in TON schools, and summer  courses at SIL (ND) and at the Institute of American Indian Art (NM). Dean’s expressed life purpose was to help individuals sense how much God values them. He was optimistic and cheerful, often shouting out, ‘Praise the Lord!’ at a volume appropriate for the hard of  hearing. His pleasant demeanor made him easy to care for to the very end.

Lucille passed away 7 May 2006. Dean is survived by his sister Margaret; his four children Marty (Jim) Johnson, Aleta (Brian) Campbell, Dean III (Filomena) Saxton, and Connie (Larry) Lovell; grandchildren Erika, Kara, Kristen, Micah, Ian, Jewel, Dean IV, Dominic, Daniel, Juliet, Stephen, and Jasiel; and greatgrandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made toward printing of the Minaveha Bible, under the Wycliffe ministry of Larry & Connie Lovell in Papua New Guinea. Checks may be mailed to Belmont Church, 68 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203, with ‘Minaveha Project’ on the memo line, or online at:

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Condolences 3

Carol Bloch Bro. Saxton brought such valuable contributions to the Tohona O'odahm nation. He would visit churches including the one pastored by my father, Rodger Cree, and present translations during services. Dean and Lucille offered friendship to Rodger (Dad) and Esther (Mom) Cree during their pastoral duties at the A/G church in Sells, AZ. Our entire family benefited from the kindness and generosity of the Saxtons while we resided on the reservation. We regret being unable to attend the memorial service. Our deepest condolences and best regards. Esther Cree, Carol Cree Bloch, Roddy (Rodger Jr.) Cree, Lois Cree, and Joel Cree
12 months ago

James Jackson "Add Condolence" does not apply here. Dean departed from this earth in the company of O'odham who were praising the Lord and celebrating Dean's life. When he entered heaven, he was surely welcomed into the arms of the Savior he loved in the company of other O'odham praising the Lord and celebrating Dean's life. Dean did not just spend 100 years on this earth, he invested his life in the service of the O'odham people and of the Lord Jesus. Thanks, Dean, for your example of a life well-lived.
about 1 year ago

Donna King Beautiful story! Dean (Grampy) was a delightful man and I was honored to meet him and share a meal together at Brian and Aleta’s house when Chelsea and Ian got married. He was so friendly and interesting and a blessing to so many. My condolences to his dear family. Rest in peace Dean.
about 1 year ago

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