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David Dean, owner of JoyLand Amusement Park, Passes
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James “David” Dean, 67, died peacefully in the loving care of his wife, Kristi, at their home in Lubbock, Texas on Monday, May 29, 2023.

David was born July 31, 1955, in Amarillo, Texas, to James Edward (Jimmy) and Katherine Alma Webb (Katie) Dean.

David was a 1973 graduate of Tascosa High School in Amarillo and attended Texas Tech University for 2 years as an Engineering student.

In 1973, David, alongside his parents, acquired Mackenzie Park Playground, renaming it Joyland Amusement Park. David married the love of his life, Kristi, in November 1990. Upon the passing of Jimmy Dean in 1993, David became CEO of Joyland. David's mother, Katie, passed away in 2019 at the age of 100.

David had an amazing ability to diagnose and understand mechanical problems, and to fix almost anything. Under David and Kristi's leadership, Joyland grew to be one of the most well-known and important small businesses on the South Plains employing generations of families. When asked what he was proud of, the memories that guests made at Joyland were high on the list, serving as inspiration for decades of hard work.

He and Kristi made the decision in the fall of 2022 to close Joyland after 50 years of work and ownership. Even after this decision, David was closely involved with the park, working to find good homes for the rides. In 2023, he and Kristi partnered with Two Docs Brewing Company to help promote the Joyland Pilsner, continuing Joyland's legacy of fun, but now in drinkable form.

David's love of cars and drag racing began when he was a boy. David raced for enjoyment – he loved thinking through cars, rebuilds, and improvements. The automotive work was part of the joy, but he also loved going fast! He was a keen competitor and once was so successful that his race winnings allowed him to buy his engagement ring for Kristi. He was a die-hard Mopar fan who raced several heavily modified cars through the years. He loved to take his family with him to the races, including his beloved four-legged family members.

David is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Kristi, her parents, Stan and Betty Blevins; his three sons, Jason and his wife Jen, James and his partner Heather, Zach and his fiancé Breeann; as well as David's sister, Mary Haiduk, and husband, Ray, and their three sons and wives.

David strove his entire life to work hard to support his family and to be able to engage in his lifelong love of providing memories. He made a positive difference in the lives of his family, as well as thousands of guests at Joyland. David is, and always will be, intensely missed by his family, who is thankful for his life and his love. We will miss his laugh, his infectious smile, and his energy. The minute he would walk in the door, his first phrase would be, “So what are we going to go do now?” He could never sit still.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Beyond Faith Hospice at click the link at the top to donate; National Roller Coaster Museum at ; Lubbock Sheriff's Employee Association in Memory of David Dean/Joyland; Lubbock Police Foundation at
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