BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Danny Bryan Deese, former beloved Pinecrest Elementary School teacher and principal, passed away Monday, Dec. 18, at age 70.
Deese worked for the Sylacauga City School System for 38 years before retiring in 2010 with 27 years as principal at Pinecrest Elementary School. Deese was a dearly loved educator, administrator and friend of the community.
Many years ago while Deese was a teacher at Pinecrest, he directed basketball games on Friday afternoons for children who wanted to play. Pinecrest alumnus Scott Roberson explained that he will always remember Mr. Deese for this. “I was in fifth grade at the time when Mr. Deese directed the games for those of us who wanted to play. It made Friday afternoons a lot of fun during basketball season,” he said.
In 2012, the newly built gymnasium was named for Mr. Deese for his love and dedication to the young children in his care. Then Sylacauga City Schools Board of Education President Jennie McGhee said everyone felt naming the gym after Mr. Deese was an appropriate dedication. “Mr. Deese has been a long, loyal principal,” McGhee said. “This was something that not only the board members and faculty supported, but also something the community was really behind.”
Many families, faculty and staff were saddened of Deese’s passing. Current Pinecrest teacher Karen Blocker was hired by Deese to teach kindergarten and continued to work with him until his retirement. Blocker said, “He was not only a great boss, but he took care of every situation with the utmost degree of professionalism. He took a chance on me way back in 1991 and taught me what loyalty and integrity meant. He genuinely cared about all of us and always had time to listen. He had a great sense of humor, and I loved his laugh. It would fill up a room and was contagious. He will be greatly missed.”
Others described Dan Deese as one of the most influential people in their lives, and that he had shaped the lives of their children and others. “There are no words to express how much I’ll miss this precious friend of mine. He was one of a kind.” said Former Pinecrest Guidance Counselor Kristen Elliff.
“It was not only his leadership and kindness, but the little things he did to make a profound difference in the life of a child,” said fourth grade teacher Tracy Green. “Mr. Deese committed most of his living years to serving his community as an educator. The dynamics of your service at the moment may not seem that profound; someone may not always be there taking your photo, but someone is watching and noticing the small things. I hope that somewhere along this journey, I can leave a meaningful legacy to my students as well.”
Mr. Deese is survived by his daughter, Hope Deese Harper (Lee); his son, Mark Deese; two grandchildren, Ella and Jon Allen Harper; his brother, Scott Deese (Angie); and his sister, Ginger Deese.
Deese’s funeral begins at 2:00 p.m. today, Dec. 21, at Currie-Jefferson Funeral Home, Hwy 150 in Hoover, Ala.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org).