"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." – William Shakespeare
Stanley David Deen, of Lancaster, died peacefully in his home on July 22, 2016. Born in Lancaster on September 11, 1937, he was the son of the late Walter D. and Ruth E. (Gross) Deen.
As an English teacher and theatre director, Stan was a Lancaster County institution-beloved by generations of students and adults throughout the area and beyond. Stan's remarkable life transformed countless individuals. With a seemingly endless supply of energy, enthusiasm, and optimism, all highlighted by his distinctive wit and charm, Stan truly lived each day to its fullest. His zest for life was unmatched, and he shared his joy with every person who crossed his path. Stan was at his best when he was bringing out the best in others.
As a young actor, Stan worked at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. After several years there, he returned home to earn his degree in English Education from Millersville Teachers' College, now Millersville University. He began his teaching career at his high school Alma Mater, Penn Manor, and then moved to Garden Spot High School, where he taught from 1967 until his retirement in 1997. It was at Garden Spot where Stan firmly established himself as a highly regarded teacher and widely renowned theatre director.
In the classroom, he was animated and engaging, able to connect on a deeply personal level with students from all walks of life. In collaboration with his good friend and colleague, the late Frank E. Palumbo, Stan founded Garden Spot Performing Arts (GSPA) in 1967-a distinguished high school theatre program that was among the first of its kind in the region.
Upon his retirement, the ELANCO School District immortalized Stan's legacy as a teacher and director by naming the high school auditorium in his honor. Never one to slow down, he continued his multifaceted career in theatre by working for over a decade as a writer and producer at Sight & Sound Theatres.
In 2008, he returned to Garden Spot, where he directed seven more seasons of shows for GSPA. Also in recent years, Stan served as a teacher and director for various local organizations, including Cavod Academy of the Arts, Ephrata ACT, Lancaster Bible College, T.E.A.C.H., Veritas Academy, and several other community theatres. True to his vibrant nature and tireless work ethic, Stan had been directing rehearsal for a summer production at Cavod Academy on the day of his death.
A man of profound faith, Stan combined his love for the Lord with his passion for educating teenagers by serving as a youth minister for various churches throughout his lifetime. While at Garden Spot, he also established Early Birds, a weekly Bible study that he led before the school day began. For decades, Stan also was a highly sought-after public speaker and local humorist. In that role, he would share his testimony of salvation and recount poignant lessons he learned from teaching with many local audiences.
In addition to his lifelong passions for education and theatre, Stan enjoyed a deep love of reading (especially the works of Shakespeare), traveling, vacations to the beach, Broadway musicals (his favorite being "Billy Elliott"), Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Neil Diamond, Doris Day, Achenbach's Pastries, Jujyfruits, his friend Diana's fruit salad, reminiscing with cherished friends, colleagues, and former students, and spending time with his beloved, "dysfunctional" family.
Stan Deen was many things to many people, and his life will continue to impact generations for years to come. Everyone who knew him felt a special connection to him. He had a unique ability to make each person he encountered feel special and truly valued.
Of all the relationships he formed throughout his lifetime, none was as special as those he shared with his two surrogate sons-Nate Busko and Gus Guarin. In addition to Nate and Gus, Stan counted as his own family: Jess Busko (wife of Nate); Kathy, Ethan and Eloise Guarin (wife, son and daughter of Gus, respectively); Diana Law, her daughters Lisa Doyle and Jessica Woods, and her six grandchildren; and Brian McCreary.
Stan's spirit will live on through the countless number of students whose lives were changed by his immeasurable influence. He will be remembered as a man of great faith, whose boundless love, joy, and generosity of spirit touched every person he knew.
Burial will be private at the discretion of the family. The public will be invited to attend a celebration of Stan's life, which is expected to be held in August. Service details will be posted to Stan's Facebook page; those not on social media may call the GSPA Box Office at (717) 354-1584 for a recorded message of service details as they become available.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Stan Deen Scholarship Fund of Garden Spot Performing Arts. Donations may be mailed to GSPA c/o Garden Spot High School, 669 East Main St., New Holland, PA 17557. Please make your check payable to Garden Spot Performing Arts, and indicate the "Stan Deen Scholarship Fund" on your check memo.
Arrangements by Groff-High Funeral Home, New Holland. Online condolences may be posted at www.groffeckenroth.com.