I don’t remember how I met Dean Goodyear. He was the kind of person you don’t meet; you just wake up one day and have a new friend. I’ve spent the past week thinking about my friend, both in quiet moments at stop lights and in explosive laughter with people I love. Yet, I just can’t remember how I met him. It’s a strange feeling, but many of the people I’ve talked to have had the same experience. I don’t think Dean ever met anybody.
Dean and I bonded over a mutual love for knowledge. When I think about him, the word “absorbent” comes to mind. He was constantly curious, which is why so many people felt so close to him. He was never running late or rushed; he always had time to listen to another story or ask another question—always absorbing, always enthusiastic.
One of my very favorite memories of Dean is from the Ultimate Brewing Championship (UBC) in 2017. I’m one of the directors of the Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance, and in 2017 we hosted our inaugural Cape Fear Craft Beer Week. We were nervous and excited and unsure how it was going to go. The UBC is a wrestling-themed, blind-tasting beer festival that kicks off Craft Beer Week (see page 31). We ask for brewery representatives to dress up and pick a walk-on song to play in the background as we introduce them. We didn’t know what to expect.
So there I was, March 24, 2017, in the parking lot at the UBC. I was on parking duty. I see the Bill’s Front Porch guys roll up—where Dean was working at the time. Good, I think to myself, another brewery is checking in. I go back to what I’m doing. I hear the Bill’s guys behind me, so I turn to greet them and there he is: WolverDean—a hulking vigilante in a red cape. I doubled over in laughter. “What are you!?” I asked.
He took the classic superhero pose and, in Christian-Bale-Batman voice said, “WolverDean.”
I hugged WolverDean and high-fived his mulleted jorts-wearing posse, Donnie Stone and Jim Deaton.
It may seem inconsequential to some, but to me it sums up Dean perfectly—an enthusiastic participant. Wherever Dean went, he enthusiastically participated—whether at Wednesday night trivia at Cape Fear Wine & Beer, on a walk on the beach with his beloved fiancée Alice, or creating “The Good Beer Show” with his best friend, Ben. It’s my biggest takeaway from my too-short-but-so-precious time with Dean Goodyear: Be present. Participate. Listen. Give a shit.
Dean will be missed in every corner of this 20-sided-die of a town. He touched so many lives, from the beach to the river and everywhere in between. It’s difficult to grasp.
I got to talk to Alice at Cape Fear Wine & Beer last Wednesday, when Dean’s friends and loved ones met to celebrate his life during the time he normally would have hosted trivia. She and I leaned against the wall in the hallway to have a sweet, quiet moment together. She told me someone gave her the perspective that Dean was just here for as long as he needed to be. He was here for a purpose, and when he served that purpose, he moved on. It’s an incredibly mature perspective for someone who has experienced such a great loss. And I’m not surprised because Dean had great taste in people.
So many people have described Dean as “larger than life” and I think about him that way, too. He was a big person, both literally and figuratively. I’ve been thinking about what we mean when we say “larger than life.” I actually interpret it as “larger than death”—and so it’s really challenging when we’re met with the opposite. But it’s important to remember memories and living well are the way to immortality. In that way, in all of us, Dean will live on forever.