February 3, 2011

Dean McDaniel Jr.

Jeanne Grimes
Photo Provided


Memorial service for Dean McDaniel, Jr., 59, of Dallas, Texas, former Chickasha resident, will be at 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 in the Chapel of Sevier Funeral Home, Chickasha.

McDaniel Jr. was born March 21, 1951, in Chickasha, the son of Dean and Helen

(Knight) McDaniel.  Dean died January 31, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.

At the time of his birth there were a number of small hospitals in Chickasha and Dean was born in the hospital two blocks from their home.

He attended elementary, junior high and high school in Chickasha graduating in 1969.

Dean listened very closely to his father as he grew up: he recognized the value of an education and emphasized in a very positive impact on what it could do for an individual. 

Dean recalled at one point in his discussions his dad saying, “I’ll buy you all the books that you need and support you in college for as long as you attend, get as many degrees as you wish.”  This was the context of Dean wanting to pursue his PHD, following receiving hismasters in 1975.  Because of his father’s zeal for education, he earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees, one as recently as 2008.

Immediately following his high school education, Dean enrolled in Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts for the summer session. 

Two of three classes were of special interest to him. The first was a biology class on invertebrates-this fueled the fire for his pursuit of a degree in biology. The second class was a speech class; it terrorized Dean, and confirmed at least at that point that he could never give a speech to a public audience. That terror stuck with him until his mid 40’s at which time he successfully overcame it, when his friend and boss suddenly passed away and he was thrust into running the organization for about nine months.  

The duties included giving speeches to the public as well as leading business meetings.  Dean was on the edge of the cliff, could not turn back, so he took the plunge and eventually got over stage fright.

Dean eventually went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in biology at Bethany Nazarene College.  Upon graduation he immediately proceeded to graduate school where he received the master of public health from the University of Oklahoma with a specialty in environmental health.  In 2008 he completed a masters degree in information systems at Tarleton State University.

At the University of Oklahoma one of Dean’s classmates was Glenn Williamson.  Glenn graduated one semester ahead of Dean, and following his graduation and throughout his career often led the way for Dean on his career path.  

Following Glenn’s graduation, he went to work for OSHA, and Dean received many calls from him during his first months saying come on in and the water’s fine.

Taking his lead, Dean did apply to work for OSHA and was hired for a position as an industrial hygienist in Kansas City, Mo. That began his 35 years career with OSHA.

One thing Dean said about working for the organization is that you help improve work conditions for workers.  Once that gets in your blood you don’t want to leave even for a higher salary.

Although the general public doesn’t  realize what goes on under the hood, and there are a variety of strong opinions on the organization, those who work there know deep inside that they are improving working conditions for workers throughout this country.   

Dean said they work hard to provide protections, so that workers will go home with all their fingers and hands at the end of the day, and they are free of toxins and adverse chemicals.

Over his 35 year career many of the employees that he met on day one are still with the organization today.  They became family with a common goal.

Dean was fortunate enough to be able to work through the ranks of the organization eventually achieving the position of Regional Administrator, one of 10 senior executive  positions that manage the OSHA organization throughout the United States.  His region was the Dallas region, including 5 states, 12 offices and 275 employees.

Prior to being selected as Regional Administrator, Dean served as special assistant to the top executive/head for OSHA in Washington D.C.  During that time, he led the effort to overhaul her 1990 database and computer system.  

He realized the value of collecting and managing data, and subsequent analysis in

identifying injury and illness trends and emerging hazards. This would allow for earlier interventions by OSHA in order to prevent injuries.  

A notable experience earlier in his career was the honor of serving on a Board of Experts for the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.  The experts developed a code of practice which was recommended for all countries to follow in order to prevent major explosions and catastrophes associated with chemical facilities and refineries.  

Later Dean served as a  representative to the international labor organization to adopt the code of practice as an international instrument, sort of like a treaty.

The ILO did adopt the code and it is now implemented in many countries throughout the world.

Dean is survived by his parents, Dean and Helen McDaniel of Chickasha; one sister,  Linda Olsenius of Salem, Oregon; one brother,  Kurt McDaniel of Midwest City, Okla.; and partner,  Randel Wright of Dallas, Texas.

 Interment will be in the Fairlawn Cemetery under the direction of Sevier Funeral Home.