Dean Sedgwick, 74, formerly of Oak Park, died on July 8, 2023. Born in Oak Park on Jan. 20, 1949, he attended Grace Lutheran School in River Forest and Oak Park and River Forest High School. He graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Civil Engineering and was a registered professional engineer, designing and constructing power plants from nuclear to biomass. In the highly technical Engineering Mechanics Division of Sargent & Lundy, he met his wife, Sally Sedwick, who worked in the fledgling Environmental Division, when the mailroom confused their names, and he began receiving decidedly non-technical mail.

Moving to Minnesota, he worked for Hibbing Public Utilities and Dairyland Power Cooperative. Later he would form Itasca Power Company and bring a 20 MW biomass power plant to the point of construction in Northome. He acted as consultant, owners representative and onsite manager, and was known for his special talent in troubleshooting. Clients included large companies such as NICOR, Rolls Royce Energy Systems, Trigen Energy – PEI, Evantage/Dominion Power and more.

He was twice national AAU heavyweight judo champion and toured the world with the USA Judo Team, winning and medaling in international meets, including the Pan American Games, and later coaching a team representing the U.S. in Argentina. He spent a year and a half studying judo at the Kodokan sponsored by Tenri University, Japan, meeting and practicing with many of the top Japanese players. He achieved fourth dan before retiring from active tournaments.

A gentle soul, he loved and was loved by, his dogs, cattle and other animals on his family farm near Max. He was a planner, often acting as an agent of change. He had an open and curious mind, and loved a good conversation and a good chess game. He was currently serving as a board member at Bigfork Valley Hospital.

Dean is survived by Sally, his wife of 47 years; his daughters, Elizabeth (Curtis) Jones and Lt. Col. Susan (Matthew) Martin; his grandchildren, Elisandra, Olivia, and Finnrick Jones, and Mikayla, Colton, and Scott Martin; his brothers, Allan (Joyce) Behar and Peter (Laurada) Sedgwick; and his sister-in-law, Ann (Stan) Martin. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Helen Sedgwick; and his brother, Ernest Sedgwick Sr.; and sisters-in-law, Marian Harriss and Edith Sims. 

A memorial visitation was held at Bigfork City Hall on July 15.

Arrangements were handled by Rowe Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. To sign the online guestbook or send condolences, visit

Join the discussion on social media!