Bob Dean's life is like his banjo playing: fast paced, a little bit of country and original. Life has been a journey.
"If it's not a challenge, I don't want to do it!" Bob said.
From race car driving to aerobatics, Bob's had a need for speed.
Reporter Joe Carroll: When did you start flying?
Bob Dean: When I was 10 years old.
Joe Carroll: Ten years old!
Bob Dean: Yup, with my dad.
But you need to slow down a bit to understand Bob and his love of his life.
Bert Dean: He chased me.
Bob Dean: I did and I caught her!
Bert and Bob-- even their names seem to go together.
Bert Dean: It does! It should.
Bob Dean: We dated for a long time. We've been together for 64 years; we went together.
Both grew up on farms in Coventry. Bob took a shine to Bert and after high school they began their life together.
"Lots and lots of memories," Bert said. "I mean, I was young. I was 18. I was right out of high school, from school to having a baby pretty near."
The couple came to Bethel to take over a failed gas station. Bert raised the kids and Bob struggled to keep the business afloat.
"When I first came here, they were quite sure I wasn't going to be around, but I fooled them," Bob said.
But there was heartbreak at home. Son Gary became completely deaf as a young boy and their little girl, who they say was born with many problems, died at age 2. Despite that devastating loss, they decided to have another child.
"When she was giving birth, I worried every minute of it," Bob recalled.
Faith kept Bert going; work kept Bob moving.
"I used to work 120 hours a week," he said. "Now, I'm semi-retired. I'm only working 60!"
Bob sold the gas station but still operates an auto shop in Bethel. If he's not at the garage, the 83-year-old is likely to be on the road.
Joe Carroll: So you still go out on call?
Bert Dean: Oh, yeah.
Joe Carroll: Do you think your success is about good luck or just hard work?
Bob Dean: Oh no, no, no. Luck doesn't have to do... If you don't want to work, you ain't going to get nowhere. I can tell you that right now.
A journey from a farm to a successful businessman. Cash is nice, but there is so much more.
"You don't have to have money be a millionaire," Bob said. "You got your health and a good family-- you're already rich."
Strumming along and living life to his own tune.
PO Box 4508