Order Flowers

Brenda Cossette

May 27, 1954 - December 16, 2013


5-7:00 P.M. Friday, December 20, 2013 at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

10-11:00 A.M. Saturday, December 21, 2013 at St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church, Detroit Lakes, MN.

Prayer Service:

7:00 P.M. Friday, December 20, 2013 at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

Funeral Service:

11:00 A.M. Saturday, December 21, 2013 at St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church, Detroit Lakes, MN.


Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

Brenda Cossette

May 27, 1954 - December 16, 2013


Brenda Mae Cossette, beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend passed away December 16, 2013 surrounded by loved ones at Sanford Hospital, Fargo, ND.  She was 59.

Brenda was born on May 27th, 1954 in Moorhead, MN to John and Jeanette (Kluck) Schritz.  She grew up on the family farm near Rothsay, MN and attended Barnesville High School, graduating in 1972.  Following high school, Brenda attended Wadena Technical College and North Dakota State University where she earned Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, Economics, and Accounting.  Over the next 30 years, Brenda held a number of important human resources roles in Fargo, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, and Fergus Falls where her passion, knowledge and expertise were true assets. On December 27, 1980 Brenda married Steven Edward Johnshoy at St. Andrews Lutheran Church, West Fargo, ND and on July 23rd, 1984 she welcomed her son Matthew Johnshoy into the world.   Brenda was united in marriage to Kenneth Raymond Cossette on August, 14 2004. They made their home in Pelican Rapids, MN on Lake Lizzie.

Brenda cherished working with St. Mary of the Lakes Belles Club where she enjoyed giving back to her church and her community.  She was also was very active in the local and national human resources community where she was a member of the League of Minnesota Cities and a frequent contributor to HR News, HR Executive, and HR Magazine as a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). She was also proud to testify in front of Congress as an expert on the Family Medical Leave Act. Brenda’s selflessness and generosity were only exceeded by the size of her heart.  In the center of it all were her family and friends.  She found so much joy experiencing the simple beauty in everything especially when gardening, traveling, and capturing life’s moments on her camera.

Brenda is survived by her husband, Kenneth Raymond Cossette; her son, Matthew Johnshoy, Iowa City, IA; her step-sons, Jason (Natalie) Cossette, Seattle, WA; Jeffrey Cossette, Seattle, WA; and Corey Cossette, Minneapolis, MN.  Also surviving are her 8 siblings: Diane Hartle (Jim Hargrove) (parents of John and Katie), St. George’s Island, FL; Patricia Quinn (Butch Quinn, deceased) (parents of Shawn and Jamie), Mesa, AZ; Rosanne (James) Zimmerman (parents of Keri and Jason), Gilbert, AZ; Gerard (Susan) Schritz (parents of Jared and Tyler), Menomonee Falls, WI; Mary Sue (Robert) LeNoue, Fargo, ND; Wendy (John) Harman (parents of Micheal) Abingdon, VA; Stacie (Robert) Kyhn (parents of Diele), Apache Junction, AZ; John Jeffrey (Nooria Ahmadyar) Schritz (parents of Sonya and Samir), Lake Oswego, OR; and her step-mother Janet (John, deceased) Schritz, Apache Junction, AZ.

She is preceded in death by her parents and brother, Howard Schritz.

The family would like to thank the health care teams at Sanford Hospital’s Critical Care Unit for their exceptional care and compassion.   


Comments are not displayed until approved by a member of our staff.

45 responses to “Brenda Cossette”

  1. Jane (Gimmestad/Lopez) Hegge says:

    West Fargo ndKen & family…..just found out about Brenda from Bev Olson (old St Luke’s too!) and our hearts and prayers go out to you! (Ran into her at the Fargo Airport a few years ago….when she recognized me, and we had hoped to reunite a little.) God Bless ~ She was a super, special lady!

  2. Michael Paulson says:

    Hunter N D So very sorry for your loss. I will always remember her smile and great laugh. She was so smart and so nice to everyone she met. We will all miss her.

  3. Clarence Richard says:

    Minnetonka, MN
    Ken, Matt, Jason, Jeff, Corey, Siblings, Family and all who were ever touched by that lady
    One thing you can take away from all of this is that you were so blessed to experience Brenda. Brenda lives on when you gather and share her stories and your experiences. Long live the ‘Legacy of Brenda’. Brenda is worthy of our emulation.

  4. Pat Cossette says:

    Austin TexasI am so very sorry for your loss. I know Jason, Jeff and Corey adored Brenda, and I will always be grateful to both of you for that. May God hold you a little bit tighter during this most difficult time.

  5. Mary Rose Simon says:

    Billings MTKen & family:

    There are no good words to say except that I am so very sorry for your loss.
    Brenda will be missed by you and by everyone she came into contact with. She was a very special lady.

    I am so glad we all had that wonderful week on St George Island. What beautiful memories.
    I hope all the good memories will be a help to you in the hard times ahead.

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Mary Rose

  6. Ann Eveslage says:

    Fargo ND
    My sympathy to Brenda’s family on the loss of a wonderful person. I belonged to several of the same HR organizations as Brenda and always enjoyed her humor and the spark she always added to any group.

  7. Sheldon Ehli says:

    I was very saddened to hear about the sudden loss of Brenda. My heart goes out to you and your family. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.


    Sheldon Ehli

  8. Mary LeNoue says:

    Fargo ND
    As one of many sisters and brothers, we will miss her deeply. An unknown author sums up many of our feelings:

    You can shed tears that she is gone, or you can smile because she has lived.

    You can close your eyes and pray she’ll come back, or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.

    Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

    You can remember her, and only that she’s gone, or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

    You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what she’d want: Smile, open your eyes, love, and go on.

  9. Joyce and Don Burnham says:

    Pelican Rapids Matt, our deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother. We knew your mom as a good woman even before we knew you. I wish I could be there to give you a hug during this sad time.

    God bless you and your family. Sincerely, Joyce Burnham

  10. Melanie Ault says:

    Anoka Minnesota
    I, and her labor relations peers at MPELRA and NPELRA, will miss her. Brenda was a member and I always looked forward to seeing her at our conferences. Her upbeat conversation, and desire to share HR/LR knowledge statewide, always left me and her colleagues pumped up about our professions and each other. She truly enjoyed her work. We are blessed to have known her.

    Melanie Ault
    Anoka County, MN

  11. Deb Brand (Liebenow) says:

    Indian Rocks Beach FLMy heart goes out to Brenda’s family. It is so hard to lose someone at such a young age. She was my friend for more than 35 years. I was so fortunate to have talked to her at the sandbar on Lake Lizzie this last summer. Cannot believe she left this world at such a young age but she will be waiting for us when we are chosen to leave this life. Rest in peace Brenda. You will be missed. We will certainly see each other again.

  12. Tim Rundquist says:

    Fergus Falls MN
    I am truly sorry for Brenda’s loss. She was a genuine asset to the City of Fergus Falls, and all of the local communities of which she was a part, and a wonderful person as well. She will be missed very much.

  13. Kay McAloney, City of Bloomington says:

    Bloomington MN
    Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. Brenda was a joy to be around and always had a smile on her face. I will remember fondly the times on committees and at conferences that I spent with Brenda. I have a special picture of Brenda that we always chuckled about. I won’t be able to look at it the same. Rest in peace Brenda. Sorry to have lost you too soon.

  14. Sheila Dubs says:

    Marshall MN
    My deepest sympathy goes out to the family in your time of loss. I only knew Brenda for a few years but I enjoyed every moment of conversation with her not only was she a true professional in her field, she was a trusted colleague and never hesitated to fill a room with laughter as she told her accounts of living life to its fullest. I will miss her dearly.

  15. Kris Schubert says:

    Brainerd MN
    I am deeply saddened by the news of Brenda’s passing. I met Brenda just a few short years ago at a HR Conference. I cannot express how much she has helped mentor me in the HR field. She truly was a wonderful lady that will be missed by many!!!

    To her family — My heart felt condolences to you and I am so sorry for your loss. Brenda was such a great person and she will live on in our memories forever.


  16. Janet Simon says:

    Billings MTKen, Matt and Family
    There are no words which can express my sympathy with the great loss you are all feeling right now.
    Brenda will be with us always through the memories of her infectious laugh, her smile, her humor but most specially her love of and giving to others. The stories are endless of how good she was to all who knew her. She would take the time to help anyone out. She helped us all in different ways, maybe sending us a recipe, food from her garden, sharing her Human Resources knowledge, being a travel agent, or letting you know about a great “deal” she had come across for you.
    One of Brenda’s best qualities was her unique ability to connect all in her life to one another. It didn’t matter if you were family, friend or colleague. You felt like you all knew each other.
    Ken, Diane and Pat — I know we will all cherish our time on the island in November and the lasting memories.
    I think back to Brenda and I meeting through SHRM about 20 years ago. Little did I know at that time, how our relationship would grow from colleagues to close personal friendship which included our families. I will miss our early morning chats, with the laugher, advice and your love. You will be missed but will remain in our hearts forever.

  17. Sandi Blaeser says:

    St. Paul MN
    On behalf of the membership and Board of Directors of the Minnesota
    Public Employers Labor Relations Association I extend the deepest sympathy to Brenda’s family. Brenda was a highly regarded member of our human resources/labor relations community. We all benefited from her years of experience and wisdom in the field. I’m blessed to have spent time visiting with her the past summer at our conference in Alexandria. I am so very sorry for your loss. Please know that Brenda has many friends and colleagues that have your family in their hearts.

    Sandi Blaeser
    MPELRA President

  18. Jerome Thorsen says:

    Moorhead MN
    I didn’t get to spend as much time with Brenda as Teri thankfully did. Brenda always seemed to brighten up Teri’s life. They surely had great experiences together. I will always hear Brenda’s laughter in my heart and mind. I am blessed to have known her.

  19. Karen Edwards says:

    Yuma AZ
    Brenda, I can’t think of you without smiling. You have brought so much joy and laughter into my life. You had such an amazing gift of seeing the good in everyone and making them feel truly special. I honestly believed you could do anything. So intelligent and in the next instant you had that childlike wonderment as you marveled at finding a robin nest in the raspberry bushes. Slow was not a word in your vocabulary. I cannot be at the funeral, but I do intend to see you again so save me a place at your table. I bet you haven’t stopped cackling yet and now you have received your reward for a life well lived. I will miss you dearly cousin. I love you so very much.

  20. Becky Mascari-Cox says:

    Dayton OHMy condolences to all whose lives were touched by Brenda. She was a truly wonderful woman. I hope this thought will help to carry you through some of your pain. “A heart that touches the lives of others goes on forever.”

  21. Tim Comstock says:

    Rochester MN
    Brenda will be missed by her HR peers. My thoughts are with her family, friends and coworkers.

  22. Sally Field says:

    north hudson wiI simply cannot believe you are gone. You taught me so much whether it was HR related or life experiences. Your laughter from our slumber party in June still rings in my ears. The memories I have of our fun and the amazing people you introduced me to will be in my heart forever. Brenda, what an incredible privilege it is to have been your friend. No one had a bigger heart or zest for life. No one had a more positive outlook when things were hard.

    Ken and Matt, I am so profoundly sorry for your loss. She will always be around you and the most special guardian angel. She is/was a special blessing for so many people but you had the special privilege of having her as true family. We are praying for you and sending you love.

  23. Aaron Parrish says:

    Brenda was a true leader in the local government profession. Her quick wit, energy, and committment to public service will be truly missed. My condolences to Brenda’s family during this difficult time.

  24. Mary Jo Igelstad says:

    Fergus Falls Minnesota
    In sympathy, thought, and prayer.

  25. Brandon Fitzsimmons says:

    Saint Paul Minnesota
    On behalf of Flaherty and Hood, P.A. and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota
    Cities, Brenda’s dedication and savvyness on labor relations, along with her humor (and great winemaking), will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

    As her Irish colleague, here is an Irish prayer in her memory:

    We remember them. At the rising of the sun and at its going down, we remember them.

    At the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter, we remember them. At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.

    At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, we remember them. At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.

    At the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.

    As long as we live, they too will live for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.

    When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.

    When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them. When we have joy we crave to share, we remember them.

    When we have decisions that are difficult to make, we remember them. When we have achievements that are based on theirs, we remember them.

    As long as we live, they too will live for they are now a part of us, as we remember them

  26. Shelly Kurtz says:

    Coralville IAMatt:
    Word just reached us of the untimely death of your mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. I lost my dad when I was 17 and have some sense of the grief you must be feeling, particularly in this circumstance when death was so unexpected.


  27. Gary Carlson says:

    St. Louis Park Minnesota
    Brenda has left her mark not only in the Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes area but across state with her devotion to improving public policy in Minnesota
    . The staff at the League of Minnesota
    Cities will miss her smile, thoughtfulness and dedication.

  28. Hon. Aaron Lee Wittnebel says:

    Lake Park MN
    My heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of Brenda Cossette. Brenda served the City of Fergus Falls as it’s Human Resources Director, and also as Chair of the Human Resource and Data Privacy Policy Committee with the League of Minnesota
    Cities. All though I only knew Brenda for a short time, as a new member of the policy committee, I found her to be a great resource for a new Mayor that Chairs the Committe on Rules and Administration for the City of Lake Park, which in part takes care of Human Resources. She will be dearly missed.”

  29. Mark Sievert says:

    Fergus Falls MN
    Brenda will be deeply missed by all her friends and coworkers here at city hall. She was always there to help and always there to teach. Rest in peace.

  30. Joy Cossette says:

    So saddened to see the passing of a good friend. I always enjoyed the company of Brenda. She was always in a good mood and laughing. And the sparkle in her eyes told me she was enjoying the laughter we shared. She was a very good person and will be missed. My heart is breaking for Matt and Ken.

  31. Steve and Bonnie Guttormson says:

    Lake Park MinnKen, Matt and family,
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to you at this very difficult time. We found the following that we thought would be of comfort to you.

    “Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free. I’m following the path God laid for me. I took His hand when I heard Him call. Perhaps my time seemed all too brief Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your hearts and peace to thee God wanted me now. He set me free”.

    Take care.

  32. Brenda Moberg says:

    Vergas MN
    I just want to express my sympathy on the loss of Brenda. A couple years ago I applied for a job at the city and worked with Brenda on the application process. She was a great person. She was helpful and supportive through the whole process. I know she will be sadly missed by family, friends and co-workers. May God be with you through the days to come to help heal the pain and sorrow of the loss of a great lady.

  33. Krista Amos says:

    Saint Peter MnMy deepest sympathy. To know Brenda was to love her. The mischievous twinkle in her eyes & her contagious laugh will reside in my heart always. Condolences, Krista

  34. Janis and Dan McVeigh says:

    Cedar Rapids IowaDearest Matt:

    Dan and I send our sincere condolences to you. I know this is a difficult time, but you must know that your Mother is now at peace. Our love to you and your family…………

  35. James Hargrove says:

    St. George Island FLKen and Brenda were hosting a reunion at their place when Mr. Jergenson, who had bought Brenda’s Dad’s farm, pulled up with a pickup of freshly picked sweet corn. Sold the rest but have this left, he said. “Give me the whole truck load,” Brenda said. That was so Brenda, the whole thing or nothing. And it was great corn, all the better knowing it came from the old farmstead garden.

  36. Richard and Sandra Hanson says:

    Rosemount Minnesota
    We have lost a compassionate, loving member of our large cousin family. For Brenda, there was nothing to much to give to someone in need. What was hers was also entitled for others. The laughter of a happy life and sensitive listening to those who needed an ear were right in character with this woman’s heart. To say we will miss her may be trite for such a one who takes with her a part of us all.

    Our hearts go out to her family and desire that the constant flow of memories will comfort the sorrow in their souls.

    Dick and Sandy Hanson

  37. Laura Kushner says:

    Brenda will be remembered fondly by all of her fellow human resources colleagues throughout the state. My sincere condolences to the family and to her colleagues at the City of Fergus Falls.

  38. Teri Thorsen says:

    Ken, Matt and family,

    Anyone who knew Brenda has “stories,” usually including laughter until the tears roll. Although the tears are rolling for a different reason now, the memories are SO filled with happiness. What a generous wife/mother/sister you had!

    My favorite Brenda quote is “I don’t know what a stranger is there are just people that I haven’t met yet.” She grew friendships the way others grow flowers. Thank you for sharing her with us.

    Teri Thorsen

  39. Kristen and Chuck Richard says:

    West Fargo ND
    Ken and family, we are sending you hugs and love as you mourn the loss of your angel Brenda. May the arms of God surround you with love and comfort now and always. Love , Chuck, Kristen, Pat, Dusty and Michael Richard

  40. Kristen and Chuck Richard says:

    West Fargo ND
    Ken and family, we are sending you hugs and love as you mourn the loss of your angel Brenda. May the arms of God surround you with love and comfort now and always. Love , Chuck, Kristen, Pat, Dusty and Michael Richard

  41. Curt & Julie Cossette says:

    Barnesville MN
    Ken and Matt,

    We are so sorry! She was a wonderful lady and so much fun. We loved her and will miss her.

    We love you Ken!

    Curt, Julie, Brittany, Austin & Emily.

  42. Kay Cossette says:

    Sandwich IlKen,

    My heart hurts so badly for you. I am so sorry for your loss.


  43. Jeni Strand says:

    Brenda was such a wonderful colleague and mentor. Her laugh especially reminds me that not everything is worrisome and to appreciate those things that make us happy.

  44. Judy Richard Barnes says:

    Dearest Ken and Family,

    My heart and prayers are with you as you go through this unspeakable grief. God bless you. he will take good care of your beloved Brenda.

    Love, Judy Barnes

  45. Shirley Durensky says:

    Barnesville MN
    My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Brenda was a very special lady, she was kind and thoughtful always. Brenda will sadly be missed. Shirley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *