Since 2004 Dean has served over Ward 1 on the City of Cartersville Board of Education as well as the technology chairman for the board. He is also the former president of The New Frontier of Bartow County.
"He loved being on the school board," board president and friend Linda Benton said of Dean, who also served as the board's technology chairman. "It was an honor for him ... he just loved it."
Longtime friend Bryan Canty said Dean was very intelligent from a young age but that didn't stop him from being an average kid. Dean's love for technology eventually led Dean to a career in information systems for IBM, keeping him busy flying around the U.S. and the world.
Canty said one of Dean's strong points was the ability to always be straight forward with others and his goals in education and in life.
"You always knew where you stood with Michael," Canty said. "He was a strong advocate for education for all children and to ensure they had all the opportunities presented to them.
"He was just a dynamic fellow; this community has really lost a star in Michael Dean."
However, Benton said Dean was always willing to take a joke, even being the guest of honor at a roast.
"He had a great sense of humor," Benton said.
She said Dean served not only as a role model for the black community through his efforts in The New Frontier -- a nonprofit that raises money for scholarships for black students -- but as a role model for improving the community as a whole.
Canty, the current president of The New Frontier, echoed these statements.
"He was just an inspiration to me in New Frontiers and a catalyst in me giving more of myself to my community to make it a better place," Canty said. "I learned a lot from him -- he was a mentor of sorts for me."
One of New Frontier's annual events is the upcoming Feed the Community Dinner on Nov. 19 at the Cartersville Civic Center.
"... He was the event [chairman] for [the Feed the Community Dinner], so we've got some awfully big shoes to fill," Canty said. "He loved his family and he definitely loved this community."
He was survived by his wife Delmarie; son, Todd, a student at Tennessee State University; and daughter, Bianca, a student at Cartersville High School.
"He was a natural born leader and he could inspire anybody to pretty much do anything, and I think that definitely is one of his attributes, that he could get you fired up over a good cause," Canty said. "... He was passionate about everything he did, he gave his all."
Funeral arrangements have not been made at this time.