LUBBOCK, Texas– David Dean, owner of beloved Joyland Amusement Park, died on Monday according to a social media post from the park.

According to the post, Dean went on to “build the GREATEST AMUSEMENT PARK and DRAG STRIP ever in HEAVEN” on Monday.

The post said Dean fought “a quick but tough battle with cancer” but those close to him believe the sale of Joyland falling through “broke his heart.”

Last year, Joyland announced the park would not reopen following its 2022 season and if a buyer was not found the park would be auctioned off. A buyer was eventually found, however, the buyer backed out of the deal due to “numerous obstacles.”

Dean and his wife Kristi opened the park in 1973.

Read the full statement from Joyland Amusement Park’s official social media page below.

DAVID DEAN – My best friend, husband, children’s father, Joyland Amusement Park owner, business partner, love of my life and the list could on and on…went to build the GREATEST AMUSEMENT PARK and DRAG STRIP ever in HEAVEN yesterday, Monday, May 29, 2023.
The smiles and memories that people shared with him every day that came to Joyland filled him with so much pride and gratitude. For those of you that knew the “gearhead” side of him, this also carried into the racing engines he built and his race cars. His car was even named “Thrill Ride”.

It didn’t matter if it was an amusement ride or a race car, if David was doing it, it was going to be a Thrill Ride!

He was an amazing man and always put 100% into everything he did. He fought a quick but tough battle with cancer that ultimately took his life but I truly believe that the sale of Joyland falling through broke his heart.

We want to thank everyone for their support during this time. I will continue to try and fulfill David’s dream that our rides, concessions and games have new homes. Thank you, Lubbock, West Texas and all of our wonderful guests through the last 50 years for giving us the best memories anyone could have ever imagined.