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Dean Coleman remembered for dedication to soybean industry

By Staff | Aug 27, 2019

-Photo courtesy of the Iowa Soybean Association Dean Coleman, of Humboldt, is pictured in front of a Hagie Sprayer.



HUMBOLDT – Dean Coleman, a third-generation farmer who was active in the soybean community, will be remembered by those who knew him for his listening ear and dedication to the soybean industry, according to the Iowa Soybean Association.

Coleman, of Humboldt, died Tuesday morning after suffering injuries in a fall from a grain bin on Monday afternoon west of Humboldt. He was 62.

According to the Iowa Soybean Association, Coleman was serving on the American Soybean Association’s board of directors. He had previously been a director on the Iowa Soybean Association board, serving as president, vice president, treasurer and at-large member. Coleman also chaired the ISA Supply and Demand, Public Affairs and Information & Education committees.

Coleman was recently appointed to the advisory board for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

“I remember Dean coming onto the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board in 2001,” said Jim Legvold, of Vincent. “He was a great listener. His responses to questions were measured and well thought out. Quiet persona, but when Dean spoke, you listened.”

Legvold added, “We had farm ground next to each other, so we were always comparing notes. Dean was always there for me if I had a breakdown in the field. I’ve lost a good friend, but the net Dean cast in his neighborhood, school district and the state and national soybean world can’t be replaced. A devastating loss for all who knew Dean.”

Coleman worked with his wife, Carol, and son, Mike. Together they grew soybeans and corn, the Iowa Soybean Association reported.

Coleman held numerous positions at the county level with Farm Bureau, served on the county extension council, fair board treasurer and president, and was a board member for a biodiesel plant start-up.

Tom Oswald, of Cleghorn, said when he was recruited to serve on the ISA board one of the rewards for service would be found through the people he would meet and serve with. And he was told some of those people would become lifelong friends.

“Dean Coleman was that to me,” Oswald said. “Dean always served with his fellow farmers in mind. He never forgot who he was representing and the responsibilities that went with that. He will be greatly missed by those who respected his insights as well as those of us who called him a friend.”

Brian Kemp, of Sibley, served with Coleman for almost 20 years on the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board, Iowa Soybean Association, and American Soybean Association.

“His tireless and unselfish dedication and time spent on these boards was an inspiration to all who served with him,” Kemp said. “Dean was informed and knowledgeable on all issues concerning the soybean industry. He was well known in the Iowa political arena as a source of information on Iowa agriculture. Dean’s warm and friendly smile made him a friend to all he met. He and Carol have been true ambassadors of the agricultural and soybean industry. Dean will be greatly missed.”

Wayne and Ruth Fredericks, of Osage, said they will miss getting calls every spring and fall from Coleman.

“He was always (quick) to reach out to see how everyone was doing during planting and harvest. Our hearts go out to Carol and family,” the Osage couple said in a joint statement. “When the soybean industry got Dean, they also got Carol, and today the whole soy family sheds a big tear.”

Kirk Leeds, Iowa Soybean Association CEO, said, “During my many years here at the Iowa Soybean Association, I have worked for and alongside outstanding farmer leaders – farmers who care about their families, their farms and their communities. Farmers who volunteer countless hours and days to represent their fellow farmers in meetings and events in Iowa, across the country and around the world. Dean Coleman was one of those outstanding farmer-leaders and a person who I was privileged to know and honored to call a friend.”

Leeds added, “In 2012, during Dean’s year as president of ISA, I spent many days working with him on the issues of the day. More importantly, I witnessed how he approached every day and every challenge with a calmness grounded in his faith and his faith in people. Dean was a great person, husband, father and grandfather and an outstanding farmer leader who made everyone around him a better person. My heart aches for Carol and the entire Coleman family. I pray God surrounds them with love and encouragement as they deal with this tragic loss – a loss felt by all of us in the soybean family.”

Karey Claghorn, Iowa Soybean Association COO, said he will always remember his first soybean trade mission, where he spent time with Coleman.

“I was deputy secretary of agriculture and Dean was on the mission as ISA president-elect,” Claghorn said. “We sat across from each other on that very long flight to Beijing. We laughed a lot on that flight and I learned about a man who cared deeply for his family, farm and community.”

Claghorn said when he went to work at ISA, one of the first places he visited was Coleman’s farm in Humboldt County.

“I joined Carol and Dean for lunch – it was like visiting family,” Claghorn said. “I remember so vividly where I heard Dean’s distinctive laugh many times. My first national meeting was a USB meeting. I sat next to Dean back in the “cheap seats” and Dean was like a play-by-play announcer at a football game. He gave me names, history and the background of why things were controversial (or not). It was the best orientation and introduction to the soy family anyone could’ve asked for.”

Claghorn added, “Dean was passionate about sharing what he knew and learning from others. A dedicated advocate for all things agriculture and a great spokesman. Someone who I learned from and respected greatly. He was my friend and this will leave a big hole in the soy family and to me personally. Rest in peace my dear friend.”

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