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.
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
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:
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.