Born 5/16/1955
New York City, New York

Died 5/2/2023
Burlington, Vermont

Details of services
A public memorial service to honor Dean and celebrate his life will be held in fall 2023.

With profound sadness and sense of loss, we regret to announce that Dean Russel Corren, 67, of Burlington, Vermont, died May 2, 2023 at home of natural causes.

Dean was born on May 16, 1955, to Sidney and Arlene Corren in New York City. He grew up in Katonah, New York, and attended John Jay High School. He is survived by his wife, Cindy Wolkin; his son, Sidney; his step-daughters, Laurel, Angela and Rachel; their spouses, Stephan, Sarik and Sofoklis; and his grandchildren, Mads, Oona, Theo and Kailas. He is also survived by his sister, Gale Harrison, her husband, Dennis, and their children, Paul and Scott. He is predeceased by his parents. 

Dean was a brilliant scientist and inventor. He received bachelor’s degrees in physics and philosophy from Middlebury College and a master’s degree focusing on energy efficiency engineering from NYU. Dean was kind and full of enthusiasm and ideas. His active mind was ready to discuss solutions to the problems of the world with anyone. He was devoted to the arts, performed in two different dance troupes, and was an avid sailor in his youth.

Dean was an accomplished and internationally-recognized leader in the development of tidal energy, bringing it to the cusp of commercialization. As the Chief Technology Officer for New York-based Verdant Power, Inc. from 2003 to 2022, Dean led the company’s engineering team in the installation and delivery of electricity to ConEd NY from tidal energy turbines he designed as the world’s first proven marine energy system. Dean’s colleagues will miss his wonderfully creative erudite mind, sardonic wit, and superb Pimm’s Cup. 

Like many others, Dean was inspired by Bernie Sanders to engage in politics to further social, economic and environmental justice. After moving back to Vermont in 1988 he became a Burlington Electric Department commissioner and eventually chair, working to move the city away from nuclear and fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. He was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1992. He served with passion for four terms, championing such issues as single-payer universal healthcare, same-sex marriage equality and environmental protection with public control of utilities. Steadfastly committed to his ideals, Dean was forward-thinking on issues before they were mainstream and never afraid to challenge the status quo. He was the organizer of the founding meeting of the Vermont Progressive Party, mentored many Progressive candidates for office, and was the Progressive and Democratic Party candidate for Lt. Governor in 2014.

Dean loved his son Sidney and was an incredibly proud father. He watched Sid grow from a vibrant child to an accomplished and creative pianist. They had a deep bond, conversing about new ideas and their shared love for music. He and his beloved wife, Cindy, enjoyed life together to the fullest: traveling the world; hiking, cycling and kayaking; and spending many happy occasions with loved ones and guests in the home that they thoughtfully redesigned. Being so like-minded in their world view, cultural interests and love of home and family made them easy companions. Dean was adored by his entire blended and growing family–a devoted husband, life partner and best friend to Cindy; a committed father and father-figure to his son and stepdaughters; and an always willing play-partner to his grandchildren, who knew him as “Ookie.” His curiosity, intelligence, humor and level-headed character will be deeply missed.