Cover photo for Dean A. Stensland's Obituary
Dean A. Stensland Profile Photo
1956 Dean 2023

Dean A. Stensland

November 24, 1956 — February 28, 2023


“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Dean Alan Stensland was born on November 24, 1956, to loving parents Gail and Elinor Stensland in Great Falls, Montana, the oldest of four children.

Born with a smile and a curious spirit, Dean was raised in Fort Benton and was always in motion. His mom said he was a climber from the start, a trait which carried him throughout his life. Dean made many friends in Fort Benton, and he remained close to many of them. In 1973, the family moved to Inverness. It didn’t take long for Dean to make new friends on the Hi-Line too. There he continued to be actively involved in sports and numerous school activities. Dean’s claim to fame was being the valedictorian of Inverness High School, although he rarely added that there were only thirteen kids in his class or what his overall GPA actually was. 

In 1975, Dean met the love of his life, Kim Broadhurst, at a high school dance in Chester. Dean then attended Montana State University in Bozeman from 1975-1980. He was a proud member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and graduated with a degree in Business Management. Kim joined him at MSU and the two continued their relationship. Although he wasn’t in any hurry to leave his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers and many great friends in Bozeman, he knew it was time to start his next adventure.

 The most rewarding decision and commitment he made in his life was to marry Kim in Chester in 1980, and he shared his life with her for the next 42 years.  For the first three years of marriage, they lived in Billings while Dean worked at Mountain Bell. In 1983, their first child, Desi, was born, his brown-eyed girl. He took a job with AT&T in Missoula and they quickly fell in love with the area. Jaren joined the family in 1985, and Dean gained a lifelong fishing and hunting partner. Dean began law school at the University of Montana in 1987. This was a busy time for the family with two young children, but they decided to have a third. Abby was born in 1990, and completed the family. He graduated from law school shortly after. 

Dean was an attorney with Boone Karlberg from 1990 until his retirement at the end of 2020. He was also president of Boone Karlberg for nearly a decade. Most importantly, Dean was an inspiration to everyone that he encountered during his career – professionally, personally, and emotionally. While Dean will be dearly missed by everyone, his integrity, advocacy, and enthusiasm for life will remain deep-rooted in all who worked with him.  

 Dean lived his life with a fierce passion for Montana and the outdoors, and was very well rounded in his pursuits – as long as he was outside, he was in his element. Whether he was hiking, fly-fishing, hunting, camping, or skiing, he was all in and made the most of every moment. He never passed up an opportunity to start a campfire and enjoy a cold one along with a deer dog. Dean also never saw a peak he wasn’t interested in climbing, among the greatest was summiting Mount Rainier twice. He hardly ever passed by a mountain lake he wasn’t willing to jump into, regardless of temperature. He cherished the yearly Father-Daughter backpacking trip, Alaska fishing trip, and hunting in Central Montana. His home away from home was Glacier National Park and he was proud to accomplish climbing all six peaks over 10,000 feet. He lived for the annual Lake McDonald summer vacation with family and friends. 

Anyone that knew him was aware of his endless love for MSU and the Bobcats. He looked forward to each and every Saturday in the fall and treasured the opportunity to enjoy time with great friends.  Being a Bobcat in Missoula allowed him the opportunity to strategically place Bobcat stickers around his office, on friends' vehicles, or on their backs. 

Dean was blessed with five grandchildren, and he developed special and meaningful relationships with each of them. He shared his love of the outdoors with them and gave them a great foundation to build upon. He will forever be their “Papa Deano.”

In addition to his family, a principal focus of Dean’s life was his involvement in the Missoula community.  He was involved in Kiwanis, YMCA, Rangers, Rocky Mountaineers, and Glacier Mountaineering Society, to name a few.  

Dean Stensland passed away peacefully on February 28, 2023, due to complications of surgery at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. He was surrounded by his wife and children. 

Dean was preceded in death by his father, Gail Stensland. 

Dean is survived by his wife, Kim Stensland; their three children, Desi (Andy) Palmer of Kalispell, Jaren (Jacqueline) Stensland of Helena, and Abby (Brent) Maier of Missoula; his mom, Ellie Stensland of Great Falls; his siblings, David (Karen) Stensland of Bend, Oregon, Loran (Julia) Stensland of Ulm, and Sherry (Ron) Kosena of Helena; his grandchildren, Liam, Ellie, Theodore, Simone, and Hadley; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

We will miss and love him forever. Live life. 

Special thanks to Dr. Michael Caldwell, Dr. Michael Snyder and our local medical community that supported Dean during his bladder cancer diagnosis last fall. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 11, at 11 am at Missoula Alliance Church. Reception to follow. 

Memorials can be made to the Missoula Alliance Church, the Glacier Mountaineering Society, or the charity of your choice.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Missoula Alliance Church

100 E Foss Ct, Missoula, MT 59803

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