My good friend and long-time colleague Tom Dean sadly died on Friday 5 July 2019. Tom Dean joined Ercol in 1949 and had a long and illustrious career with the company until his retirement as Managing Director from the Board of Directors in 2002. He always told me the story of his first interview with my grandfather, the Old Man, Lucian Ercolani. Tom’s father had died at an early age from an asthma attack while working as a chairmaker. His mother was very reluctant to let her son work in the furniture business. But the Old Man showed her how clean the factory was and welcomed Tom as a son, he stayed for the next 53 years.
Tom came from a long line of furniture makers and he made his own substantial contribution to the industry of furniture making whilst at Ercol. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe and the Harvard Business School.
Tom had a particular love, understanding and deep knowledge of manufacturing techniques. He introduced the first CNC machining centres into our factory in the early 1990s. Simple machines soon to be superseded by the giant multi head and multi position machines that Tom sourced from manufacturers across Europe. These were the foundations of the massive increases in productivity achieved in furniture manufacturing.
Solid wood was Tom’s particular love and in which he had huge knowledge and experience, which he possibly inherited from his roots in the Chiltern Hills. He understood more about the science of timber and the science of preparing timber for production than most other people in the furniture industry. When in the 1980s English Elm became extinct in the UK Tom set up our companies in Minnesota to secure the supply of elm, for many years the basic raw material of Ercol furniture.
Tom was a long-time governor at Bucks College and a staunch member of the High Wycombe Rotary Club. He had great enthusiasm for local football, and he was well known for many local causes.
Tom will be greatly missed by his family, his friends, his colleagues and the High Wycombe community.
Edward Tadros, Ercol chairman
The funeral will be held on Tuesday 23 July at 11.30am at the Chilterns Crematorium, Amersham (please do not wear black). Family flowers only please but donations for Dementia UK will be gratefully received.
All enquiries c/o Arnold Funeral Service, 891 London Road, Loudwater, High Wycombe, Bucks HP10 9TB. 01494 472572.