Wesley Arne Stensaas

Wesley Arne Stensaas was born November 15, 1938, on a family farm near Volin, Yankton County, South Dakota, the youngest of nine children of Arne Julius Stensaas and Amy Evelyn Ross Stensaas. He died at home in SeaTac, Washington, early Thursday morning, July 17, 2014, at the age of 75 years, 8 months.


He began his education at Oakdale one-room country school where all eight of his siblings attended at one time or another but transferred to Humboldt and then completed his high school at Franklin High School near Madison, SD.


After working several years for the U.S. Forest Service in Utah and Wyoming, he entered the U.S. Army in 1961. He received honorable discharge from the Army in 1964, and then began work for the Homestake Mining Company in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


He married Darlene Nelson in 1962 in South Dakota.  Two sons, Bruce and Byron, were born to that union. In 1964 the family moved to Seattle where Wesley joined his brother Howard as a shipyards worker, and Darlene became a school bus driver.  After a few years, Darlene convinced him to join her as a driver.  He earned several awards for excellence as a driver.  Darlene died in April 1988.


On January 31, 2002, he married Malinee Sathitkasetsri, a Thai citizen who became a naturalized U.S. Citizen. The couple made their home at SeaTac, Washington. Wesley retired from bus driving in 2003.


Survivors include his wife, Malinee Sathitkasetsri; two sons, Bruce Stensaas and wife Mindy of Seattle, and Rukh Stensaas, also of Seattle; one grandson, Casey Stensaas of Seattle; two brothers, Harlan and wife Vianne of Oklahoma and Albert and wife Molly of South Dakota; one sister, Marie Stuen of South Dakota; two step-daughters, Manita Elizondo and husband Jesus (“Jessie”) of Oklahoma, and Chalida Workman and husband Adam Piotrowski of Seattle; a step-granddaughter, Kaitlyn Elizondo of Oklahoma, and numerous nieces and nephews, including Mike McBride and Karen Rassilyer of the Seattle area.


Besides his first wife Darlene, he is preceded in death by his parents and five siblings, Gerald and Howard Stensaas, Amy Leisinger, Helen McBride, and Elsie Blackwell; brothers-in-law Chester Stuen, Larry Blackwell, and Russell Leisinger; nephews Ronald Stuen, Robert Kenoyer, and (infant) Richard Stensaas; and niece Vicki McBride.


And Now You Know Him….

By Kirsten Stensaas Jackson (From  Facebook )


I have a lot of praying and compassionate people on my page. I know you see pleas for prayer often…and it’s hard when it’s someone you don’t know…so let me introduce you to my Uncle Wesley.


Wesley is my Dad’s youngest brother (there were nine of them). I remember him as a skinny young man with white-blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. He is soft-spoken, gentle and oh-so-KIND…one of the kindest men I know. I felt so safe when I was with my uncle. I’ll never forget a family vacation we took to his home in Seattle when I was seventeen. I was desperate for adventure and exploration and Wes happily took me along on his day and then made special outings that Saturday just for me.


He was a school bus driver and I rode with him on his route…up and down and down and up the Seattle landscape. He gave me oral driving lessons as we traveled! At the end of the route there was still a little boy on the bus! He was a new student who didn’t know English and didn’t know when to get off the bus! Wes was so calm and kind with that little kid that the child didn’t even know to be frightened as Wes did the calling to find out where to take him.


The next day Wesley took me down to the water and we ate the best clam chowder out of cardboard bowls. He took me to Pike Place Market and to the space needle…I had the grand Seattle tour…just me and my sweet uncle. His sons Bruce and Byron and my other cousin, Mike, set up a deep sea fishing trip for us that weekend, too…and I caught a dogfish (it’s a little shark!)!


When I think of Wes, I can taste diner food…because that’s what he liked and that’s where we’d go with him. I see crinkles around those blue eyes because he was always smiling at me. I hear the softest most gentle voice because that’s how he talked to me.


I’m the luckiest girl to have an uncle like Wes.


And he needs prayer. He has cancer and he’s hurting.  Today his wife, Malinee, posted the song “You are my Sunshine” on his Facebook page and explained to my Aunt Marie “I sing this song to Wes before go to work to make him feel good. I don’t know how to help him. He has bad pain this week. I wish I can carry all the pain for him.”


This breaks my heart because I remember Joe hurting before colon surgery and I couldn’t carry his pain either.


Please pray for Wes…and Malinee…and Bruce…and Byron…and Mindy (Bruce’s wife)…Casey (Bruce’s son)…and Chalida (Malinee’s daughter) . They’re all hurting right now.


Because now you know him.

That is all ;-).

One Response to “Wesley Arne Stensaas”

  • Larry Dean Blackwell says:

    My Uncle Wesley:
    My mom (Elsie Stensaas-Blackwell) and Uncle Wes were the youngest siblings in the Stensaas Family. I always knew my mom cared deeply about her younger brother and she expressed this to me many times. She bought Wesley a suit for his graduation from high school. When I was a young boy growing up in Sturgis, South Dakota, I remember Uncle Wes visting often and there was always joy in our home when he was there. There was alot joking back and forth between my dad (Larry Blackwell)and Uncle Wes.

    About 1988, I visited Seattle with my wife and kids in a motorhome and we experienced the best tour ever of Seattle. It was very similar to the experience Kirsten shared in the obituary. We had such a great time and he provided a family memory that we still talk about today.

    Thank you Uncle Wes for your service to our country, for your family, and for being a wonderful person who had a positive influence on others.

    You will be missed and I do pray for your family.

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