Dean Leroy Rither

March 28, 1931 - November 3, 2019


Dean L. Rither passed away peacefully in his sleep on November 3rd, 2019 at Retsil Veterans Facility in Port Orchard Washington. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Earl and Helen (French) Rither on March 28th, 1931. When he was young, his family moved to Pasadena, California where he grew up and went to school.

Dean served in the US Army during the Korean War and was honorably discharged at the end of his service time. He was married soon after returning and had three sons. While living in Los Angeles, Dean met the love of his life, Carol and spent the next three decades with her until her passing.

While Dean worked as a car wash equipment salesman and manager for years, eventually owning Bubble Bath car wash in Torrance, CA, his real passion was photography. He worked as a freelance photographer in the 1970’s, contributing to the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and other area newspapers.

Dean spent years photographing nature and in his later years concentrated on achieving different photo results using digital editing. In the 1980s, as part of the Studio 33 team in Old Town Torrance, Dean was the founder and editor of The Downtowner newspaper, a local newspaper that chronicled local people and stories in the downtown Torrance area for years. He also was involved with The Villager, another local newspaper in the Torrance area. Dean also published a column in Rancho Cucamonga called The Irreverent Rambler.

He always enjoyed meeting people and had a friendly smile and a story to make others feel instantly comfortable. Dean was a member of the Lions Club in Los Angeles and was always involved with any community he lived in through photographing people and sharing their stories. He loved live music, especially photographing local musicians in South Park, San Diego, where he lived for sixteen years. Dean was well liked and was fondly referred to as the unofficial Mayor of South Park.

His family remembers him as being larger than life and he was famous for his barbeque parties. Pork chops were always on the menu with his special secret BBQ sauce, along with bacon wrapped baked potatoes nestled in the coals.

He was preceded in death by the mother of his girls, Carol Andrews. Dean is survived by his sister, Phyllis Grier; sons, Ross (Linda), Jon (Julie), and Christopher (Heran); daughters Alison (Skip) and Lauri; grandchildren Joel, Morgan, Lauren, Yoojung, Casey, Hamish, Alicia, Sarah and Alex; great-grandchildren Ariyah and Orbyn with one more great-grandson on the way.

Memorial contributions can be made in his name to support photography scholarships for youths at Port Townsend School of Arts.

By Dean’s choice, we will have a ceremony with family only at a Veterans cemetery where he will receive full veteran’s honors including a flag ceremony and an honor guard. This date will be decided as our family travel plans allow.


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