Stephen’s service will be livestreamed below starting at 10:00 AM Wednesday July 6, 2022.

Stephen Douglas Arel was born in Grand Forks, ND on April 23, 1968. He had many friends and many interests growing up. He and his dad Jean had a shared mechanical and financial aptitude. Steve served as a junior member for the Knights of Columbus. Steve played football and wrestled. He operated the soundboard for the band that he was a member of and started a painting business with friend while still in high school. Steve was a very generous and honest person, following a motorcycle accident, he spent most of the settlement of gifts for his parents. He graduated from Wahpeton High School in 1986. Steve loved holidays; Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July were his favorites. He enjoyed entertaining and did so often.

Steve married Carmella Cave in November of 1992. His first son, Jean-Luke Arel was born on April 16th, 1993. His second son, Nathan (Arel) Arel-Keller was born on September 20th, 1995. Steve and Carmella were very active in their children’s lives and were amazing advocates for their futures and well-being. A favorite past time was to go camping as a family.

Steve started a check collection business with his brother-in-law and later he explored the skid-steer market. Steve’s last career was teaching, and it was something he was very passionate about. Steve loved his career. He was a very popular teacher and won Teacher of the Year at Davies High School in 2020.

Steve was responsible for the addition and development of knowledge bowl at Davies and led his team to a state championship. He also was responsible for the development of AP Macro and Microeconomics, as well as AP History in the district. Steve worked tirelessly to be a great teacher and to build relationships with students. He often spent his time writing letters of recommendation for students seeking grant, scholarship or collegiate opportunities and was proud to have procured funding for many to attend college.

Steve and Carmella built a home together north of Horace before ending their marriage but remained friends for nearly a decade.

He loved nature and planted hundreds of trees on his property. Steve just completed building his second home over the last year. He also loved cooking, enchiladas, Christmas meat balls, and chili were specialties of his. He enjoyed having his brother-in-law, Kenny, and his nephew Alex, out to his home in the summers.

Steve died June 24th, 2022, at Sanford Hospital in Fargo surrounded by loved ones. He was preceded in death by his father, Jean. Steve is survived by his sons, Jean-Luke Arel and Nathan Arel-Keller (Avery Arel-Keller); mother, Sheila Arel; brother, Dave Arel (Deb Bakko); and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.


Visitation: July 6, 2022 @ 9:00 - 10:00 am

Memorial: July 6, 2022 @ 10:00 am

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Memories Timeline

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  1. I am the Engineer at Davies High School. Steve would come to work around 6am and we would seem to meet someplace every morning. We had many great talks about multiple subjects. I was saddened when he left Davies. I am also saddened about his untimely demise.

  2. That man had a big impact on me as a student and I know he did on other kids as well. Very good teacher but an even better person.

  3. Stephen Arel was my economics teacher in high school. He was such a patient and relatable teacher. He is one of the only teachers I truly remember having an impact on students years after they graduated. I will always remember his goofy stories he told while teaching. Even after high school, I had emailed him if I could ask him a few questions regarding my economics class in college and he was more than willing to answer my questions and cheer me on to graduate college. My thoughts and condolences to his family.

  4. Thank you for being the most caring and comedic teacher I have had. I never had a bad day when I came into your class. Although I was not a fan of economics, you made it more enjoyable! You will forever be remembered by so many students.

  5. The impact that Mr. Arel had on my life was huge. As a teacher he ignited my love for economics and education. As a man he helped me see that I didn’t have to be one thing. I could explore multiple opportunities at once and be anything I wanted it to be if I was willing to do the leg work. I would not be accepting my first job in education if it weren’t for him. If I can have half of the impact that Mr. Arel did, my career will be amazing. Rest In Peace Mr. Arel, you will be missed but your impact will not be forgotten.

  6. Mr. Arel was my AP US Gov, AP Macro and Econ Challenge teacher. He was my absolute favorite teacher I’ve ever had because of the time he took to get to know me and make his classes engaging. He was always happy and lively in the classroom and used to say that the change he had made to teaching was the best decision for himself. This change wasn’t only impactful for him, but me as well, as he altered the way that I understood what learning could be. He took the time to make sure everyone understood difficult content, and constantly challenged me, personally, to be more than I thought possible.
    He always used to claim that he was the reason my girlfriend and I got together, that he had a direct hand in putting two of his favorite students next to each other and pushing us to date. That was the kind of person he was to me; a man willing to get to know me and pushing me out of my comfort zone because he knew there was more potential to me than I saw. I will miss him dearly, and his family has my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Mr. Arel was by far the best teacher I had growing up. I was lucky enough to be in his Knowledge Bowl team, and I have many fond memories of the car rides to away meets. I’ll never forget how much passion he put into his teaching, and how all of us looked forward to his class. He had many great stories to tell and taught us all valuable lessons alongside our class work.

    One of my very favorite memories is that he always shared dessert skittles with us in Knowledge Bowl as a prize for getting answers correct during practice. Unfortunately, Skittles stopped making that flavor sometime during my high school years. In classic Arel style, he bought up the 5 remaining bags off of Ebay for $20 each. To my surprise, he gave me one along with his favorite G2 pens and a gift card for tacos as a graduation present. I was lucky enough to share that bag of discontinued skittles with him and my classmate one day after we both had graduated and visited him at Davies.

    Arel holds a very special place in my heart, and I’m so grateful to have gotten the chance to know him. I’ll never forget all of the things he taught me.

    • Hattie. Thanks for your kind remembrances. I have Steves last bag of Skittles and will share it with his family at Christmas! He loved you all!!

  8. Mr. Arel was the best teacher I was ever graced with meeting. He was extremely kind, caring, and respectful. I felt as though I mattered when I was in his class. I am incredibly sad to let him go. I am forever grateful he was able to spend his time with those he loved before he passed.

  9. I had the pleasure of being one of Mr. Arel’s students. He was an amazing teacher who had a profound impact on my high school and college education as well as my career. My senior year of high school Mr. Arel was my teacher for economics, A.P. Gov, and philosophy. I can say with complete confidence I would not be who I am today had Mr. Arel not been my teacher. He will be remembered.

  10. as a former Davies student I can attest to Mr. Arel’s lasting impact on his students’ lives. He made me love his class, even though I HATED Econ! I still can’t tell you what a supply and demand graph means, but I can always fondly recall his goofy and increasingly animated demonstrations of them with his arms in the air. He taught me life skills like how banks actually work, and how to create and maintain a diverse investment portfolio, though I mostly remember his hilarious life stories and quick wit. He will be missed and remembered by all of the students he taught and lives he touched.

  11. Steve Arel and I worked together at Davies High School . We were often the first ones in the building and would often joke about who was first to arrive . He was very passionate about teaching and the welfare of his students . He made teaching fun for his students & it was evident by the number of students that packed his classroom. It’s a very sad day to hear about the loss of one of the BEST teachers and a very special colleague.

  12. Mr. Arel is one of the kindest souls with a passion for his students, endless jokes, and wisdom to get us all through some incredibly hard classes. He is the reason I chose to do AP classes. He was that cool. Universally loved my his students.
    You will be missed ❤️🌮❤️

  13. Mr. Arel was a kind man and a great teacher. He was always encouraging, helpful, and understanding. He was my greatest inspiration for becoming a teacher so I could help other students the same way he helped me. I’ll never forget him.

  14. Arel was not only my teacher, he was someone I could come to with anything. I remember all the days of sitting with him talking and laughing. He made my hard days go away with one simple laugh. Arel meant so much to me and will dearly be missed by all the students and staff at Davies High School. Thank you for everything Arel and being my best friend.❤️

  15. Arel was the most influential teacher I and many other students had throughout our education. He will be missed and remembered by many.

  16. Jean-Luke, Nathan and Carmella,
    I was deeply saddened to see the news about Steve. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the entire family at this time. Keep the good memories close to your hearts and remember all the great things that Steve accomplished over his short life. Thinking of you all…

  17. Arel not only made my day at school more informative, but entertaining and fun. I loved coming to his class and learning about economics and because of that fact, I was able to reach my financial goals and have a second passion with business/finance. He will be so missed by the hundreds of kids that he impacted throughout his career including me.

  18. Mr Arel: My 3 oldest boys all had the pleasure of having you for an instructor. You left a fantastic impression on all of them. Thank you for your dedication to being a great instructor and mentor. You will be missed greatly by many. God bless you and your family.

  19. So sad, my thoughts go out to his loved ones.

    He had a profound impact on my understanding and appreciation for economics. One of my favorite teachers at Davies during my time there, and such a kind person.

  20. While I never had the opportunity to have him as a teacher, Arel helped me a lot during my senior year of high school. I was going throuh a lot that year and every day during my open period, Arel would sit down with me and either just listen to me rant or take my mind off of things while giving me my favorite candy. He helped change my life, and many others, for the better and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance. I will never forget all the memories I have with Mr. Arel. So thank you, Arel for everything you have done for me.

  21. I consider Mr. Arel to be one of the most influential people in my time as a student at Davies, and am confident that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for him. I owe him a great deal of thanks. You will be greatly missed, thank you again so much for everything you did for me.

  22. Steve—that was a fabulous nasty trick you and DiBrito played on me. Watch for my faxes in the future—I’ll be sure to hit the send button😜 Miss you, old friend.

  23. Sheila, David and family,

    I am so sorry to see of Steve’s passing! I went to school with him in Wahpeton and he was such a nice guy. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time.

  24. Sheila, Dave and Family,

    I’m so sad to hear this news. I cherish the time I spent with Steve growing up and working with him. I’m honored to be the “friend” in the high school painting business 😃. So many great times, he will be missed dearly. Hugs Shiela ❤️

    • Gerrymandering, Thank you so much for connecting with us. He was a phenomenal teacher, friend and son. Since his dad died we have spent ALOT of time together. I will miss him so much. Take care.

  25. Sheila, Dave and family,

    I’m very sad to hear this news. I cherish the time I spent growing up with Steve and working with him. I’m honored to be the “friend” in the high school painting business :). We had so many great times and memories. He will be missed dearly. Hugs Sheila

    • Gerry, thanks so much for connecting with us. Yes, Steve was a phenomenal teacher, friend and son. I will miss him so much!! He has gone way to young. Take care

  26. Sheila, Dave, & family,

    I am so sad to hear of this news. I have such fond memories of Steve from when we were just kids in the neighborhood playing, growing up together, and going through school together. He was always so kind & willing to lend a hand when able. He was always so full of energy & laughter. I will always remember him as a happy person, who also loved to be a little mischievous at times, but it was always in fun. My thoughts and prayers to you all.

    Paulette Paur-Bingham

    • Paulette, so nice to hear from you. Yes, Steve was quite a young man and even better as a mature one. He is missed!! Thank you.

  27. So sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. I was a high school classmate (class of ‘86). I remember him as being a really nice guy. Thank you for the detailed obituary, it was nicely written and I didn’t know of all his accomplishments. He sounded like an amazing person and role model for many. I’m sure he will be greatly missed by many. Thoughts and prayers to all of his family during this difficult time.
    Sincerely, Brenda (Mohs) Armstrong

  28. Mr. Arel was my favorite high school teacher (sorry other teachers). I will always remember the concept of diminishing return, and always think of it in terms of potato olés. I know that he’s looking over us right now, eating tacos.

    • Austin, I am positive you are right about the tacos and the potato oles!! Thank you for remembering!!

  29. I remember Mr. Arel very fondly – I took his AP Macro class and AP Gov class and I was on his Knowledge Bowl team. I have a lot of fond memories of taking his class and staying after to practice Knowledge Bowl and getting tacos and ice cream with him on a few days. He showed us really cool things like playing a cameo role in his son’s film project. I still kept in touch after I graduated from high school and texted him occasionally, as late as May of this year, to ask him for his opinion and thoughts on developments in the news. He was a very inspiring role model for me and I appreciated his insights, advice, stories, and guidance a lot. I’m very sorry to hear of his passing, but I’ll always remember Mr. Arel very fondly.

    • Jimmy, I remember Steve talking about your recent text! He was thrilled to hear from you!! Thanks for connecting with him and with us!!

  30. Sheila, Dave, and Family,
    I’m so sorry to hear about this. Steve was a classmate of mine. He was always nice to me and shared his smile that would lite up a room. He will be dearly missed.
    Love & Hugs Sheila

  31. I worked with Arel at Davies High School. He was such an amazing colleague, mentor and friend. I always enjoyed our morning chats before the chaos of the day began. Prayers to his family and friends.

  32. Mrs. Arel and Dave-I am saddened by Steve’s death. What a blessing to have your memories as well as these heartfelt comments of others lucky enough to have known him as well. Offering you strength, peace, and prayers.
    Corrie (Stach) Blythe

    • Corrie, how great to hear from you. It is a sad time and kind words like your make things more bearable. Thank you!

  33. Mr. Arel was a fantastic teacher. I only had him for one class at Fargo South, but I enjoyed it immensely. One of the stand-out memories of my senior year will forever be the AP Econ challenge team trip to the Federal Reserve Branch in Houston, Texas. Tacos, crayon graphs, travel issues, the whole thing was quite the experience.

    • Jeff, Steve would be so pleased that you remember that trip. I’m sure you had a wonderful time. Thanks

  34. Arel made a big impact on my life as a teacher. He had a way of relaying information to students that made them understand. He also demonstrated that he cared about you. He has altered my life for the better in my educational journey about business and finance. He will be missed by me and many.

  35. Mr. Arel was a light in the halls of Davies. He taught some pretty hard classes but they were the ones that I looked forward to the most. He made a huge impact on my life and it’s clear I wasn’t even close to the only one. My mother pointed out to me one day that every time she asked me “how was school today?” I always found a way to tell her about Mr. Arel. Whether it was something I learned that day or something he said to make us laugh. His time and dedication to his students will always be admired. Thank you Mr. Arel for all you did for us.

  36. Mr. Arel was someone that made everyone feel welcomed and valued in his classroom. He was always there to support and joke with all of his students, as well as share such amazing life experiences. Will never forget how he spent the whole night practicing a Tiktok dance he wanted to do the next day with us to prove that he can keep up with TikTok trends!

    • Judies, I remember Steve talking about that. He loved doing fun out of the ordinary things. You students made his time teaching very fulfilling.
      Thanks for bring that up.!!

  37. I had the pleasure of working with Steve in the Social Studies Department at South High. I was impressed with Steve’s commitment to students while teaching them a very challenging subject. Steve’s sense of humor always made department meetings more fun than they should have been! Pre-School year bonfires, the love of tacos, and his wicked laugh are also things that I will remember about Steve Arel! Rest In Peace, Steve, you will be missed.

    • Vic, thank you so much for your kind words. He was very serious about giving his students the best possible education. He is missed.

  38. If I had a dollar for every student who came into my office at NDSU and said, “I had the greatest teacher at South” and then “I had the greatest teacher at Davies,” “so I want to be a teacher just like Mr. Arel,” I could have retired years ago.

    My son was one of the South High students stuck in Houston with Steve during a national economics challenge. Rain flooded the Houston airport and they were stuck there for a few extra days. Steve took it all in stride. Both of my kids had Steve and adored him.

    I was reminded that Fargo is still just a small town when I was lucky to have Nathan as a student in one class at NDSU.