I just saw (on Prewar Times) that Lenny Dean has passed away at 81 years young. I met and had dinner with Lenny Dean in 1996 (11 years ago) at Toy Fair in NYC.
He's one of those people that just never seemed "old". He was always smiling, thinking and excited about what was coming next. As I recall, we had dinner at a nice restaraunt just a block from Grand Central. The guy was a character, you could ask him anything about Lionel and he always had some experience or some kind of anecdote about the trains that shaped the industry.
The thing about Lenny was that he was the living embodiment or ideal ambassador of what Lionel had and toy trains in general have come to symbolize: invention, sharing, brotherhood and the ability to share and learn at the same time. No small task for any human being.
I don't say this about many people but I will say this about Lenny Dean: the world is a little less happy without a man like him in it.
Lionel has put up a little picture of Lenny through the years on their website. I'd highly recommend you take a minute and pay your respect and solemn admiration to Lionel's favorite son.