He probably never received many accolades in his lifetime, but Dean HuneyCutt was one of those great American unsung heroes that are often overlooked, one of those so called “little people” that no one hears much about but who are actually the backbone of what makes a country like ours so great. A lot of people believe there are basically two types of people, thinkers, and doers. But Dean was one of those who was both kinds, a thinker and a doer. He was raised from humble beginnings and throughout his life he never really aspired to rise to any socially excepted heights of respect, but never the less he was highly respected by his peers and fellow workers for his ability to decipher and build some of the most difficult steel fabrication designs ever seen.
Those who live in the Charlotte North Carolina area might have seen one of his creations without even knowing it. If you have ever been to Discovery Place in downtown Charlotte, you’ve probably walked on the huge spiral staircase that winds around the lobby. I watched Dean take crude drawings and piece by piece carefully measure, calculate, and clamp together the entire two story 8 foot wide spiral staircase within the confines of a fabrication shop, and then take it all apart and put it up permanently in the Discovery Place lobby. Dean also fabricated the huge spinning disk sculptures that are sitting in the median of Trade Street in downtown Charlotte. Dean’s fabrications are scattered all over the Charlotte area, with a stairs here or a sculpture there, including many frame facades for store fronts.
But his most important qualities were his kindness and generosity. He was the original “help your neighbor” kind of person. I have no doubt that he would have literally given you the shirt off his back if he thought you really needed it!. I have watched over the years as he not only gave money to help others, but more important he gave his time to those who he felt needed his help. He never hesitated to give of himself to both friends and strangers alike. A lot like his belief in a simple life, he had a belief in the simply philosophy that said we should treat other people the way we wanted to be treated. He truly lived by the Golden Rule and not many people can honestly say that about themselves!
One of the greatest people I have ever known passed away Wednesday April 4th 2012. Dean Huneycutt will be greatly missed by his friends and family. However, it is the world that did not know him who has lost the most because it is this world that will miss the love, kindness, and creativity he contributed to it!