Susan Stenehjem-Brown, 58, Fargo, N.D., died June 27, 2006, at home under the loving care of her husband, Patrick, and her daughters, siblings, cousins, friends, and Hospice of the Red River Valley. She had battled Pick?s Disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig?s Disease) since July of 2005.
Susan was born June 1, 1948, in Mohall, N.D., to Martin E. (Buck) and Margurite M. (McMaster) Stenehjem.
She attended grade school in Williston, N.D., and graduated from Williston High School in 1966. Susan received her Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Bismarck State College. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, in 1970 and received her Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1972.
Susan was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority at UND; as a graduate student she established the sorority?s chapter at UN Reno.
Susan and Patrick Brown were united in marriage August 16, 1975.
After a year and a half as a social worker in Grand Forks County, N.D., Susan found her true passion, addiction counseling. She served as an addiction counselor and director of addiction counseling at Memorial Health and Retardation Center in Bismarck, N.D. She was also an addiction counselor at Heartview Foundation and West Central Human Services Center in Bismarck, N.D., before becoming the assistant clinical director of Heartview Foundation in 1984. In 1992, Sue was promoted to clinical director at Heartview. She had also served as Heartview?s only female acting executive director while the institution conducted a national search for a male executive director.
In 1996 Susan joined Drake and Burau Counseling Services in Fargo as an addiction counselor.
In 2000, she co-founded First Step Recovery, PLLP, in Fargo and served as the outpatient treatment center?s lead counselor, clinical director, and executive partner until her retirement in March 2006.
Susan was a pioneer in the addiction counseling profession on national and state levels. She was a charter board member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counseling (NAADAC), a charter board member and chair of the North Dakota Board of Addiction Counseling Examiners (NDBACE), and a member and chair of the Professional Standards and Certification Board for the State of North Dakota. She drafted many of the national addiction counseling licensure regulations and wrote North Dakota?s laws governing her profession.
Susan was a strong advocate for both her fellow professionals and her many patients. She demanded the highest levels of professional competence from the counselors she supervised and fervently promoted Alcoholics Anonymous to her patients. During her 32 years as a skilled addiction counselor, Susan was often assigned the most difficult patients, including impaired doctors, lawyers, and business executives, whom she was able to guide to recovery with her toughness, wit, and compassion.
Susan was also a respected addiction counseling educator. She was a clinical instructor of Neuroscience with the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and taught an upper division course in addiction counseling at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.
In her spare time, Susan enjoyed spending time with her daughters, her grandson, and her family, and bicycling, gardening, and reading. She is survived by her husband of 30 years, Patrick Brown; her daughters Kirsten (Tom) Brown-Thor, St. Louis Park, Minn., Sara, New York, N.Y., and Lindsay, Grand Forks, N.D.; her grandson, Porter Thor; her brothers John (JaVayne), Steve (Kim), Robert (Kathy), Wayne (Beth), and Al (Lisa); her sister Peggy (?Corky?) Stenehjem-Titus; her loving mother-in-law Margaret Brown, Bismarck; her sister-in-law Marlene (Richard) Peck, Hendricks, Minn., and brother-in-law Tom (Elaine) Brown, Colorado Springs, Colo.; many nieces and nephews, and her beloved aunts and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents and grandparents.
Prayer services for Susan will be held June 29 at 7:00 p.m. with visitation from 4-7 p.m. at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo and June 30 at 7:00 p.m. with visitation from 4-7 p.m. at Bismarck Funeral Home in Bismarck. The Rev. Thomas Kramer will celebrate Catholic Mass of Christian Burial July 1 at 10:00 a.m. at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck. Interment will follow at St. Mary?s Cemetery in Bismarck.
The family prefers memorials to Hospice of the Red River Valley.
Arrangements entrusted to Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo and Bismarck Funeral Home, Bismarck.