James Council

james council
James “Jim” Council, 65, passed away on July 19, 2019, at his home in Fargo, ND. Jim was born to James and Lola Council on July 15, 1954 in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Maryland with his parents and sister, Kathleen. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he met the love of his life and best friend, Susan (Lee) Council. After earning his BS in Psychology, the couple moved to Connecticut where Jim earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. In 1985, Susie and Jim moved to North Dakota, where Jim accepted a faculty position in the Department of Psychology at North Dakota State University. Jim held many different positions throughout his 31 years at NDSU. In addition to being a teacher and a researcher, he served at different times as a department chair, Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and the Dean of the Libraries. His academic interests included hypnosis and the history of psychology. Jim was an academic mentor to many people throughout the years of teaching and conducting research. He served on the Board of Directors for the Fargo Public Library, in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Spirit Room. Jim was the epitome of a Renaissance man. He appreciated all kinds of music, from Beethoven to European house music (granted, he couldn’t stay awake for most operas). He was a voracious reader, as familiar with Stephen King’s works as Shakespeare’s oeuvre. In short, Jim was the kind of guy you really wanted to have on your bar trivia team. He was also an outdoorsman – he loved camping, sailing, hiking, canoeing, and hunting. He biked to work almost every day, regardless of rain, snow, or shine. Above all, Jim loved new experiences. He and Susie traveled abroad and around the United States. Wherever he went, he would seek out an art museum, a local beer, and new types of food to try. Jim will be remembered for his honesty, his passion for knowledge, and his unique sense of humor. He is survived by his wife Susie, his son Gregory Council, his daughter Elizabeth Council, and his sister, Kathleen Mosier. He will be sorely missed by his three cats: White Kitty, Squeeks, and Wicket. Memorials may be directed to NDSU’s Department of Psychology, The Spirit Room, or The Fargo Public Library.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Jim was one of my very favorite people from my days in Fargo. I have very good memories of him; he was one of the reasons the atmosphere at NDSU was so pleasant. He was a kind and warm colleague and friend. I will miss him very much.

  2. I was so sorry to hear of Jim’s death. His family was a life saver for me in graduate school and after. My heart goes out to them

  3. He mentored me and I will miss his advocacy on behalf of the public good. He made NDSU a better place because he genuinely cared for people. Jim was authentic and I will miss him.

  4. Jim was my undergraduate mentor at NDSU. He had the most generous soul and was one of those people who radiated care for family, friends, students, and animals. I am so grateful for the many opportunities he provided for me, and I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for him. I am paying it forward every day will my mentees, passing on the kindness and support. He made a difference, and will be terribly missed.

  5. Jim was my Professor in Clinical Psychology many years ago at NDSU. I remember him to be a kind, compassionate person who truly cared for his students. My thoughts and prayers are with Jim and his family.

  6. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. The most fond memories of my 38 years at NDSU include people who were the heart and soul of the university. Jim was one of them. Committed to others, bright, kind, professional, friendly, he epitomized what it is to be an educator. My sympathies to Susan and his friends and family. Heaven gained a good one!

  7. Jim was a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Connecticut around the same time I was a graduate student there. I remember Jim as a kind and very good-natured person. Also, Jim published a very important study of context effects in hypnosis research that had a major impact on how I (and others), designed our hypnosis studies. Most important, Jim was a good person. He will be missed. My sincere condolences to Jim’s family in their time of sorrow.

  8. I am profoundly sad to hear of Jim’s passing. He was one of my favorite people to work with during my many years at NDSU. I have many fond memories of talking about travel, tech, and family with him. Sending all my love to Susan, Gregg, and Liz.

  9. From the very first moments Jim and I interacted, I could tell he wore his heart on his sleeve. I had the privilege to confirm this many times over during my time at NDSU between 2005 and 2009. He would take genuine interest in people and their stories, he would be in the underdog’s corner every time, and I felt he was the ‘voice of emotion’ that injected welcomed humanity in everything we did.

    I will miss him.

    I would like to extend my deepest of condolences to Susan and the rest of Jim’s family, friends, colleagues, and everyone else who despite their current sorrow had the good fortune of crossing Jim’s path.

    – Stéphane Rainville

  10. Jim was my clinical supervisor during my master’s program and one of my committee members. I always enjoyed his refreshing perspectives. He was a patient teacher and a researcher that could think outside the box. My condolences to Susan and the rest of Jim’s family.

  11. Oh, man! It was only a few weeks ago he was telling us about the benefits of
    retirement and enjoying a beer at Front Street on a Friday afternoon.

    He was funny, wise, and perceptive. I hate this.


  12. Jim was a great colleague and friend at NDSU for many years. It was always good to see him. I last visited with Jim at the college picnic last fall where we caught up with each other’s lives. Condolences to Susie. Jim will be missed. Ken Nygard

  13. I am saddened by the news of Jim’s death and wish to extend my condolences to his family.
    Jim was always welcoming and sincerely interested in those of us in psychology professions who were of fortunate to have been educated and trained in the graduate program. We enjoyed conversations that seemed to pick right up from where we left off no matter the months in between.

  14. Jim was a wonderful person. He was bright, talented, adventurous, witty, amicable, generous, and above all, kind. I will deeply miss my friend and colleague.

  15. I was fortunate to be a colleague of Jim’s in the psychology department for several years. Perhaps what most struck me about Jim was how much he cared – he cared and wanted the best for his students, the department, and the university. Along with this sense of care, Jim had a very engaging personality – he was just an interesting person and fun to be around. Because of these and other attributes, Jim made an important (and far too rare) contribution to building a healthy academic community. My condolences to Susie and their children.

  16. Although I had interacted with Jim on campus many times, I got to know him best on a trip to Romania. He was a delight to have in our travel group, interesting and interested. He worked hard and played hard. He will be deeply missed.

  17. I was Jim’s major adviser in graduate school. He was an excellent student and a dear friend. He went on to become a marvelous scholar and colleague. I miss him greatly!

  18. Jim was one of my professors as I pursued my master’s degree at NDSU from 1986-1988. He also was my advisor for my thesis. I enjoyed Jim’s vast knowledge and his sense of humor. Above all, he was an authentic and caring person, and a good support as I completed my thesis. I am sorry to hear of his passing. Praying comfort for you all as you grieve the loss of a wonderful man.

  19. He was a lovely, fun-loving man. I remember he had a great interest in gardening and in local hawks and such. I had hoped to share more artisanal brews with him and my husband. This was such a sad surprise. He will definitely be missed!

  20. I am saddened by Jim’s passing. We didn’t interact often during my days at the NDSU Foundation but when we did they were always enjoyable conversations. Jim was a dedicated instructor who, during his tenure had to have had a significant impact on numbers of students.
    My prayers to Susie and his children.

  21. I am surprised and very saddened with Jim’s passing. He was a wonderful friend and fellow mental health advocate. I also had the good fortune of being a counselor at South High School when his children attended there and to no one’s surprise he and Susie were and are the epitome of caring and concerned parents. North Dakota and Fargo in particular were indeed fortunate to have Jim and Susie relocate here. Maryland’s loss. Our gain. He will be missed by many and in particular our “group.”

  22. I am so saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. He was such a wonderful advisor to me during my time at NDSU. Especially during the times when, looking back, I was struggling with the stress of it all, his kind words and encouragement really made an impact. My condolences to his family and friends.

  23. Susie, I was so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing, he was too young. I know you have many wonderful memories to help you through this difficult time. Thinking of you!

  24. We would have been so blessed to have known Jim. His friends and family describe him as a great man who gave back to his community and one who never ceased to live a life full of new experiences. He will be missed by many.

    On behalf of my family, I would like to express our love and our heartfelt condolences to Susie and her family for their loss. We pray that each day they will be granted the peace that is needed to get through this most difficult time.

    Wai Kom Lee, Faye, and Carlene
    Florence & Paul Chan
    Albert & Lisa Lee

  25. Susie, I was saddened to hear the news of Jim’s passing. I had many graduate students in psychology over the years enrolled in my AHSS 796: Teaching Online course, and they always spoke so fondly of Jim. I consider their words the highest compliments; it can be very telling what students say when they think no one is listening. Based on what I heard, I could tell Jim was a patient and kind mentor who pushed them to be their very best.

    Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts.

  26. I was one of Jim’s instructors in graduate school and a co-author with him on one paper. I did get to visit Jim when I visited NDSU a few years ago. Jim was a great guy, and I feel honored I was able to know him. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  27. I heard your story only recently. RIP Professor. Your advice and contributions will never be forgotten.

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