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Posted By Whitney & Murphy On May 14, 2021 @ 9:09 am In Obituary | 23 Comments

Ryan Thomas Brown

Ryan Thomas Brown, 43 of Phoenix, AZ, passed away on May 10, 2021 after a short and courageous battle with an aggressive cancer. Despite the pain he was in he still managed to bring light and love to the family and friends who cared for him. Ryan was born in Grand Forks, ND on August 7, 1977. In his adolescent years he and his family also lived in West Fargo and Fargo, ND. Ryan graduated from West Fargo High School in 1995.
Ryan accomplished a lot in his life. Some of his achievements include receiving his undergraduate degrees in Emergency Management and Political Science from North Dakota State University in 2004, and then a Master of Science in Technology degree from Arizona State University in 2009. Anyone who knew him knew that he was a huge NDSU and ASU football fan.
Ryan worked for ASU in their Environmental Technology department while working on his Master’s degree. Following his graduation, he worked as adjunct faculty for ASU’s Emergency Management Degree Program. He landed a position with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) to begin the career he was most passionate about. He worked at DEMA from January 2009- April 2013, as an Emergency Services Project Specialist before progressing forward to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Oakland, CA in 2013 as a member of the Incident Management Assistance Team, and most recently as the FEMA Integration Team Lead in Arizona beginning in September 2019. His FEMA family looked to him as someone who was comforting in the chaotic circumstances they were faced with, often referred to as a beloved battle buddy and brother deployed to several disasters to help disaster survivors. He was a mentor and coach to everyone who had the opportunity to serve with him. His calm, collective, and credible character helped lead the FEMA Team through extraordinary challenges.
Through his time working for FEMA, he was also privileged with many great life experiences such as traveling through 8 different time zones. His favorite by far being Hawaii, “Shaka”.
The outdoors was one of Ryan’s biggest passions, specifically developing his ranch in Arizona. Along with this he loved hunting, hiking, fishing, and his morning walks. He held close to his heart the great memories he made Pheasant hunting with his dad, brother, and friends while growing up in North Dakota.
He is survived by his parents Thomas and Janice Brown, brother Matthew (Jenifer) Brown, nephews Diego and Dylan, niece Daniela, great nephew Adrian, great niece Ariana, grandmother DeLores Ust, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
He is preceded in death by grandparents Robert and Maxine Brown, Alfred Ust, uncles James Brown, Myron Koppang, Warren Ust, and Aunt Kathryn Ust.
Ryan is so loved and will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
“Shaka” Ryan!
A Visitation will be held from 10:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. on Monday, May 17, 2021, immediately followed by a Celebration of Ryan’s Life at 11:30 A.M. at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Rd., in Phoenix. For those unable to attend, the service will be live streamed and can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/WhitneyMurphyFH/live/
A Memorial Service will be held on July 9, 2021 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Valley City, North Dakota, a time will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Ryan Brown’s Memorial Fund:
To donate online: https://www.ndsufoundation.com/ryan-brown-memorial-fund
To donate over the phone is 701-231-6800. Mention the Ryan Brown Emergency Management Memorial Fund
Mail a check: PO Box 5144 / Fargo, ND 58105. Pay to: NDSU Foundation. Memo Line: Ryan Brown Emergency Management Memorial Fund
For any questions or IRA, stock donations, please contact Viet Nguyen. viet.nguyen@ndsufoundation.com

Condolences for the family of “BROWN, RYAN THOMAS”

Condolence from Kevin Koppang on May 14th, 2021 11:53 am

Tom, Janice and Matt, we are so sorry for the loss of Ryan. While his life wasn’t as long as it should’ve been, the opportunities he had, provided him a full life. For me, I will always remember how Ryan was able to keep things light hearted, inject some humor and keep perspective. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Lindsey Narloch on May 14th, 2021 12:47 pm

Ryan was a year ahead of me at NDSU and was a great mentor and coach even back then. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

Condolence from Tammy Knox on May 14th, 2021 12:53 pm

Ryan was such a joy to know. He was also so helpful and thoughtful. He would randomly reach out to me on FB to check in on me. Our NDSU experience together was always a highlight for me. Such a sweet sweet soul. He will be greatly missed by so many many people.

Condolence from Carol Cwiak on May 14th, 2021 12:58 pm

My prayers to Ryan’s family in this very sad time. I will always remember Ryan as a kind, jovial soul who was sharp as a tack. He always had a smile to share and that drew people to him. He will be missed.

Condolence from Pat Schlecht on May 14th, 2021 1:05 pm

To Tom & Janice and the entire Brown and Ust families, it is with sadness that we extend our deepest heartfelt sympathies for your loss! We did not get to know Ryan, but have a lifetime of knowing both families and would hope that although the ache in your hearts may never heal, your memories will give you some comfort. He lead a life that exemplified his goodness. Pat & Cathy Schlecht

Condolence from Sara Ruch on May 14th, 2021 3:25 pm

I am so sorry to hear about Ryan’s passing. I was a classmate at NDSU and he was one of my favorite people in class. We were on the same wave link and he was funny. We were about the same age. In the program for the same reasons. Had the same work ethic and for those any many more reasons he was one of my favorite people to work with on projects or talk to before class, after class, or during class. I was trilled and excited for him to get his job with FEMA and travel to so many fabulous places. I loved watching all of his adventures and I was so happy for him and all of the hard work he put in to get there. We ran into each one time at a conference after we graduated and got to catch up I appreciate that time now. Thoughts and prayers to the family.

Condolence from Janelle Cossey on May 14th, 2021 5:37 pm

My heart goes out to the Brown family in their time of loss. I know words cannot help but I still want to say: “I’m so sorry”. I did not know Ryan but I knew of him through working with Matt for many years. He sounded like a solid, standup guy with a heart of gold and I know that he will be missed by many. Sending love and hugs your way, Janelle.

Condolence from Paul Barbeau on May 14th, 2021 5:43 pm

Ryan was a great man. I only knew him for a short time. He was a great partner to work with during the COVID response.
My deepest condolences to the Brown family for your loos.
He will be missed.

Condolence from Eli on May 14th, 2021 6:03 pm

Ryan Brown was a true expert in his field and a wonderful mentor to me. I had the distinct opportunity to work with Ryan and am grateful to have learned from his expertise. I will miss his advice and fantastic stories. I will miss the way he could lighten up the room and effortlessly make everyone laugh. I will miss the way he could make you feel heard and the way he checked in on everyone just to make sure they were okay. Thank you for everything my friend, you will be greatly missed.

Condolence from Butch Wise on May 14th, 2021 6:21 pm

To the family and Friends of Ryan, my deepest condolences. I considered Ryan not only a professional colleague, but a friend. Ryan was a great advocate of taking care of other folks who had experienced disaster and loss of everything and put them and their communities back on the path to recovery. I can honestly say he was one of four people in my life I would consider a mentor in my career as an Emergency Manager. I can also say that Ryan’s actions not only during COVID but many other incidents either saved or enhanced hundreds if not thousands of peoples lives because of his love of people and the communities they live in. Ryan was a Rock Star and his legacy will continue to make us all better. Gonna miss ya Buddy.

Condolence from Bruce Koppang on May 15th, 2021 8:29 am

Tom and Janice
We are so sorry for the loss of Ryan. Holly had only met him a couple of times but she gravitated towards him at get togethers because Ryan was quick with a laugh. He just radiated warmth. His life story is impressive – so much as a young person:). He always had a smile on his face and he was willing to have conservations with any one at any time. If we all lived our lives like him what an amazing world we would live in!!
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Bruce and Holly Koppang

Condolence from Paul C on May 15th, 2021 9:49 am

I worked with Ryan back in the old ADEM days with Lou Trammell at the helm. Good times, good leadership and a good crew. Ryan was part of that good crew and always dedicated to helping communities during an emergency. Sorry for your loss as I know the EM community lost a great asset and friend.

Condolence from Rosella Vanek on May 16th, 2021 4:34 pm

So sorry Tom and Janice. So Terrible to lose a child.

Condolence from Jared & Jami Falk on May 17th, 2021 6:52 am

We are thinking of you today as you lay Ryan to rest. May memories be vivid and plentiful as you remember your son, brother and uncle! We remember our cousin who was a kind, gentle soul and most often had a smile on his face! Ryan’s time on earth was much too short but the gifts he left behind are to handle and embrace life with grace, kindness and of course some fun! Rest easy Ryan you are now at peace without pain, and in heaven comfortable with the Lord! Prayers for you Tom, Jan, Matt and Jennifer ❤️

Condolence from Sabrina La-Ma on May 17th, 2021 8:01 am

I will keep Ryan’s family and friends and all who love him in my prayers! It is such a blessing to me that I crossed paths with Ryan. He did so much to make this earthly world a better place and that legacy lives on! I miss him! Hugs!

Condolence from Ashley Harrison on May 17th, 2021 8:30 am

Ryan Brown was not just my co-worker he was my friend. Ryan I will miss so many things about you, your laugh, your smile and the foolish inside jokes we shared. Remember the Cherries I do and always will.

My prayers go out to his family. I pray that the confront of the Lord be with you now and forever. I pray that the peace of God be with you all as a Good piece of God has left us to spend time with the father in heaven. Ryan was and is a good man with a big heart for all. I say now your fight is over Rest Ryan as we wait to meet again.

Condolence from Paul Timmons on May 17th, 2021 9:08 am

I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of a friend and colleague. I only had but just a moment in time to get to know Ryan on national deployments. It’s not often that you find a great role model that exudes the best in themselves and shares with others so we may become the best in ourselves. He had a tactful and fun way of keeping us all focused on the mission and taking care of ourselves at the same time. His leadership and friendship will live in all our lives forever.

God Bless

Condolence from Becky Elliott on May 17th, 2021 10:42 am

My heart has an empty space, especially today. Ryan made such an impact on me as well as so many others during his time with us. I’ll treasure my memories of him; shopping for a tweezer, the Love sak, working on the farm, buying my first washer/dryer set from him (I think he could sell something to a fly on the wall he was so good at talking to people), learning how to drive in AZ…you take the 101 to the 202…, our get togethers in ND and AZ if even only for a beer but most importantly working with him on the early party planning stages for Grandma’s 100th. I am so sad he won’t be there in person – but we will make sure to have the watermelon, the seed spitting contest and all the other fun things he wanted to be a part of. I can’t wait to go see his ranch! And, it good ole’ Ryan fashion – I think I’ll have a beer with him when I get there too! Love you all!

Condolence from Jeremy Swartz on May 17th, 2021 11:48 am

Tom and Janice,

My sincere condolences. Ryan was a remarkable friend, mentor, and colleague throughout the time I worked with him at part of the Region IX IMAT and we stayed in touch as we both transitioned into FIT Lead roles. His passing is such a sorrowing loss as Ryan was such an amazing person who really had a significant impact on my life and really the entire Region and even county, when you look at it in terms of the work he had done in Emergency Management for his ability to make order out of chaos.

May he forever be remembered for all the great work did throughout his life. While Ryan’s pain is gone, it is our turn to deal with the sorrow. Ryan has found eternal rest.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


Condolence from Jenn Hogan on May 17th, 2021 1:55 pm

Dear Brown Family,

I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your son and brother. I had the pleasure of working with Ryan through various disasters in California, where Ryan supported our disaster Recovery operations. Ryan was a tenacious, kind, and genuine humanitarian. No matter how terrible the circumstances, Ryan found the silver lining and was willing to share it with those around him. He also never missed an opportunity crack a witty joke, which I appreciated so much about him. Thank you for sharing the gift of Ryan Brown with all of us. I personally am a better person because of it. I will always think of him in the brightest light.

Sincerely and respectfully,
Jenn Hogan, Cal OES

Condolence from Iris Spanski on May 17th, 2021 5:45 pm

Dear Ryan, O ka maluhia no me oe – peace be with you! Mahalo Nui loa for your respect and care of myself and my PA team in Sonoma County. Your professionalism, kindness and fairness showed who you really are. So nice to work aside with you. Your “mana” your humble true spirit and love for others showed the Aloha very few have. Sharing da Shaka makes me happy to see. So proud to know you and now your spirit.
So grateful to you ohana for giving this world such a wonderful human.
Your humble Hawaiian friend,
Me ke Aloha, Iris

Condolence from Sharon Stevens on May 17th, 2021 6:09 pm

Tom, Janice, & Matt, I know it is hard to lose a loved one especially as young as Ryan. Ever since I met him he always had a smile on his face and he was smiling when I last saw him so many years ago. Take comfort that Ryan is resting in peace and no longer in pain. Take care of each other in this time of sorrow.

Condolence from Joette Turner on May 17th, 2021 8:52 pm

Jan and Tom, I just learned of Ryan’s passing today and watched his memorial, it was so nice. I didn’t know Ryan, but he sounded like an amazing man who made the most out of life. Please accept our sincere sympathy for your loss.

Joette and Larry

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