Clark E. Dean, 91, died peacefully at his home in Oak Park on Nov. 19, 2017. Born in Petoskey, Michigan, he served in the U.S. Army in World War II and used the educational benefits he received under the G.I. Bill to study photography at the New Bauhaus Chicago, a school established by international artist and educator László Moholy-Nagy. He worked at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and later opened a commercial photo studio in that city. He moved to Chicago and started to play soprano saxophone, accompanying Chicago boogie-woogie piano legend Erwin Helfer. At age 60, he married Yoko Noge, a Japanese citizen and fellow musician. Together, they founded the Jazz Me Blues Band and played regularly for more than 15 years at the Hothouse, the legendary Chicago club, as well as at the annual Chicago Blues Fest, Jazz Fest, and numerous international festivals. He performed until his health declined in 2011; he lost his vision due to giant cell arteritis.
Clark Dean was a father, husband, artist, and veteran. He is survived by his three sons and Yoko Noge-Dean, now the Chicago bureau correspondent for Nikkei, the Japanese business daily newspaper.