James Stenseth

james stenseth
James's service will be livestreamed below starting at 2:00 PM Friday, January 14, 2022.
James Michael Stenseth passed away unexpectedly on Sat Jan 8 at 26 years young at Essentia Hospital in Fargo ND with family by his side. James was born November 7th 1995 at St Johns Hospital in Fargo ND. He was the first born son of Scott and Penny (Krout) Stenseth. James attended school in Fargo at Lincoln Elementary, Carl Ben Eilson and graduated from Fargo South High in 2014. After high school James attended NDSCS in Wahpeton ND for 2 years earning a degree in land surveying. He went to work for Moore Engineering in West Fargo ND after college and later on moved to Biwaubik MN working for Benchmark Engineering in Mountain Iron MN. He returned to Fargo in early 2020 and worked at Moore Engineering again for a few months. James was always a very adventurous kid and loved the outdoors. He grew up in a great neighborhood with lots of neighbor kids and his little brother John joined him in 1998. As a little guy it was snow forts, sledding, ice skating in the winter and in the summer, it was anything with wheels and whatever the other kids were doing. He grew up spending summer weekends at Bijou Lake, tubing behind the boat for as long as we’d pull him and John and any other kids with for the weekend. As the years went by, kneeboarding, water skiing, taking the little fishing boat out with his brother and buddies. A week of camping, adventure and fishing at Lake Sakakawea for many years since 8 months old. Road trips to Kindred to visit people or wander around in the Sandhills. Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. Trikes, bikes, scooters, skateboards(wheels). Riding motorcycles with his brother and dad from a young age and his dads Harleys. Driving Uncle Charlies go kart which kinda taught him how to drive a car. Baseball from park board thru a few years in Babe Ruth. Family trips to California and Florida Disney world. Snow skiing to a seasoned snowboard rider. Listening to music and going to Warped Tour music festival in Minneapolis a few times. We Fest a couple times. Loved a good outdoor concert. Adventures to different cities and states. Couple of trips to the mountains. He loved fun and excitement. There were 3 family dogs during James life, Raz to Gus and we still have Jessie James always made friends easily and had so many throughout his short life. He was polite and respectful and funny and silly and a joker. He enjoyed shopping for clothes and shoes in particular and his friends say he liked lookin good. He was a Croc legend and had many pairs. Summer or winter he was styling with his Crocs. In the last few years James had struggled with anxiety and depression and alcoholism and was not able to overcome it James is survived by his brother John, his parents Scott and Penny, his grandmother Matie Krout and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents; Leroy Krout, Hazel (Stenseth) Van Arnum, Mike Stenseth and his step grandpa Edson Van Arnum

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Memories Timeline


  1. Penny, Scott and John, Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time. We are so very sorry for your loss. Kathy and Jerry Olson

  2. Penny and family, I am at a loss for words! We are beyond saddened at the loss of James. He and our son Eric had many adventures together through baseball, birthday parties and sleepovers. When we heard the news, we took time to reminisce and remember James; we remember him fondly as a young man; always so respectful. Eric shared many stories, one being how much fun they had when they went to their first corn maze. Our hearts go out to you as you try to manage the days ahead. May you find some comfort and peace in the blessing that is, and always will be, your little boy.

  3. Scott, Penny and John – shocked is certainly an understatement. Brad and I are so sorry for your loss. He was a fine young man! You know we are here for you anytime. We love you!

  4. Penny, Scott and John,
    Jerry and I want you to know how sorry we are that you are going through this travesty. We can’t begin to know what you are going through. We want you to know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers.
    Shirley and Jerry Nordstrom

  5. Scott and Penny, I was shocked to see this today. I am saddened by James’ struggles and passing. Know you all are forever in heart and prayers.🙏

  6. John,Penny and Scott,
    My heart is hurting for you. I cannot imagine the pain you are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Krista Talbott

  7. Oh Penny! How your hearts must hurt. We notice from the photo that James has gentle eyes. He seems like someone we would have loved to spent time with. We pray for God to comfort your hearts and minds with comfort and peace as you grieve your precious son. Love & Hugs, Uncle Bob & Aunt Joan

  8. I attended school with James and too be honest had a huge crush on him as so many others did as well. He was always a light to everyone and was always making people laugh! I’m beyong greatful to have know such a bright soul.
    May he rest in paradise.

  9. Scott and Penny, last time we seen James at the lake last summer he stopped over late in the evening to make sure they weren’t being too loud next door as he new we had little ones in bed. Told him no and after he left my thought was “He is such a nice kid.” Prayers and hugs you are in our thoughts at this difficult time. Sue and Mike

  10. Scott Penny an John. So sorry to hear of your loss, just know we are hear for you. You have our deepest sympathy. Kent an Jan Lahren.

  11. Scott, Penny and John. We just want to send our deepest sympathies. We can not imagine the pain and grief you must be feeling. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  12. “Scott, Penny and John:
    We were shocked to hear of James passing.
    We are deeply sadden of your loss. When we visited and stayed over it was easy to see how well-mannered James was.
    And how much he loved the family get togethers. He will be miss him by all who knew him.
    God bless you and love you.
    Joe, Vickie, David & Amy.

  13. Dear Stenseth Family, I did not know your son, but I can empathize with the struggles he endured from mental health issues and alcoholism. My heart aches to think this beautiful young man’s life was cut short due to obstructions beyond his control. I am so very sorry for your loss. After reading his obituary, I am saddened to think of all the people he had yet to meet. They undoubtedly would have been touched by natural his warmth and laughter. You must be commended for the brave decision to include the challenges he faced in life; challenges that ultimately took him away from you. Please be comforted knowing that by stating depression, anxiety and alcoholism overtook him, you may have saved a life. Like myself, people who did not know James but who read his obituary, are reminded to continue to keep our sobriety in check. Your words point out the fact that there are so many people, particularly young men and women, who suffer from depression and anxiety. This keeps us empathetic to their struggles. Perhaps it softens our perceptions and opens our hearts to be a little bit kinder to others. I cannot possibly understand the depth of your suffering. I send my sincere condolences. I wish you peace. And I thank you for being courageous in the face of mourning. Thank you for sharing a piece of James’ personality and his world and all that he loved with this stranger.

  14. James was my Art student at Carl Ben. I loved his smile and positive energy that he brought to the classroom. He was so bright! My sympathies and prayers go out to you with the terrible loss of such a wonderful young man. May the love of Jesus surround your family and give you comfort and peace as only God can provide. “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.-Psalm 34:18 I will be praying for you as you endure the pain and grief of this tragic loss of James. Draw nearer to the Lord and He will draw nearer to you as you walk the tough road ahead. Love and prayers- Barbara

  15. No words can express how sad we are to see the passing of James. He was such a smiley and fun child to have in our karate classes years ago. We are so sorry to hear of his struggles as well. We cannot imagine the pain you are in with the loss of your son, and Johns brother. Just know our thoughts and prayers are with you all, and may God hold you close and give you the strength you will need in the days and years to come.
    May God be there for you now and forever.

  16. Scott & Penny,

    So very sorry to hear of your son’s passing. I can only imagine how it feels to loose a child at such a young age. They are supposed to out live their parents. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  17. Scott, Penny and John,
    My heart is hurting hearing the news. I remember James as a kind boy and mentor for a lot of the younger boys in scouting including my son. He was always helpful and outgoing. May he rest in peace and may you all find healing, we will pray for you.

  18. I didn’t know you James, but I knew Mike and remember him carrying my groceries from the south Fargo Super Valu, I remember his tragic death. My heart goes out to those family members left behind, no family should endure such young lives taken so suddenly.

    To those loved ones, Find comfort in his open arms and his unconditional love for all grieving such heartaches.

    I’m sure that Mike and James are getting to know each other and they are both at peace. Rest your tired hearts and know that his kingdom is grand! And know too, just how many care about your heartaches and silently grieve with you?

  19. Scott, Penny & John – Our hearts & prayers go out to you. James & our daughter Amili were good friends in school, they attended Lincoln together all the way through South High spending many fun times together along with Seth. He was a dear friend to her. As a parent my heart breaks for all of you and I’m hoping you may find some peace in the days ahead with the wonderful memories of James.

  20. Dear Scott and Penny,

    I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your son, James, and for the extreme pain you must be going through.

    Please know that you and your family are in many prayers, near & far.

    – Amber Dapper & family

  21. Penny, Scott and John,
    May all the sweet memories of James comfort you on the difficult days. Losing a son and brother is out of order and will never feel right. I wish for you much love and support as you learn to live with this tremendous loss. The video and story of his life show the many ways he made the most of good times. Take good care.

  22. Dear Penny, Scott and John-Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time in the passing of James. He is free and at peace and in God’s hands. Hugs to you all- what a terrible thing to have to lose a child at any age.

    Janie and Tim

  23. So sorry Scott and Penny to hear of James passing. It was a true shock and my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  24. We are so sorry to hear of your son’s passing. May he RIP now and may god watch over you all during this very difficult time. God bless you all

  25. Our sympathies to you Scott and family. Gramma
    Hazel welcomed James with a warm hug and a big smile. Take care.

  26. I am so sorry and you have my most heartfelt sympathy. Altho I never knew James, I always appreciated your friendliness to me Scott whenever our paths would cross, usually in Kindred. May God embrace you with his love and cherish the wonderful memories. Love and Prayers Arlene Lykken

  27. Scott,Penny,and John,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your son James’s passing. My deepest condolences to you and your family. Cherish the wonderful memories that you have of him. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Take care and God Bless.

  28. Scott, Penny and family,
    Our deepest sympathies and condolences to you and your family! Sending you prayers and positive thoughts that your memories will help bring you peace! One of the hardest things about parenting is watching your kids go through something that you can’t fix. Remember all the good times, the love, the laughter and all the feelings you shared. You are in our prayers!

  29. Dear Penny & Scott:
    I can’t imagine your pain, grief and heartache. Parents are supposed to out live their children.
    Depression and anxiety are dark and elusive symptoms hard to detect and digest yet worse to process.
    James was a very good looking, hardworking young man taken to early. May find solace in heaven and RIP.
    Gods speed my friends as I sign off with teary eyes.

    RaeDell Braaten

  30. Darla and I are very saddened by the loss of James. He was such a big part of our neighborhood growing up. He always had a great smile and really represented community in our little part of Fargo. I will always remember James as a polite and very respectful person. He was very inquisitive and a very good conversationalist. He could easily visit with any adult and of course he had so many friends. We will miss his smile and friendship. Rest in Peace young friend.

  31. What a beautiful service for a life lost too soon. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your family is in my prayers. Much love. ❤️

  32. Scott, Penny and John, I hope the warmth of your memories along with the love and support of others can provide some comfort.

    I really enjoyed seeing the wonderful photos of James and your family. It looks like he had so many happy moments!

    Please know I am thinking of you and praying for you.

    Debbie Dixon (daughter of Mary Mayo (Harper))

  33. Our sympathy to all of you. The service was heartbreaking to watch as we felt the love of your family with all the wonderful pictures. I hope you find peace in all the memories. I was just thinking how happy Hazel must be to now have her two James with her. We continue to think of you in the days to come! Hugs and love to you!

  34. Scott and Penny,
    My heart breaks for you on the death of your dear son, James. I know how hard it is to loose a child, as my son died at the age of 16. It is a club no parent wants to be a part of. Hold on to all the beautiful memories you made with James. He was a very handsome young man and looked like he loved to have fun! Healing hugs as you embark on your grief journey.
    Jodi (Johnson) Norman

  35. Scott, Penny and John how my heart aches for you for the loss of James. He touched the lives of so many in his short 26 years. He lived life to the fullest and I can only imagine the immense joy he brought into your lives. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers during this very difficult and heartbreaking time.

  36. Scotty. The only time I saw James was once at Barrie. I thought what a beautiful child. I’m sure he was as sensitive and kind as you are

  37. Scott and Penny, I just heard from Elly about the loss of your son. Our hearts hurt for you. We always thought of you as one of the kids and always enjoyed running into you over the years. I just watched his service and could see all the love and joy he brought to so many in his short life. Treasure all your memories and continue to share them with everyone. My prayers are with you.

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