Obituary for Elizabeth "Beth" Stephan-Dirlam (Stephan)
lizabeth “Beth” Stephan, 68, of Baxter, Minn., passed away December 31, 2016 at her home, surrounded by her family.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Halvorson-Johnson Chapel in Baxter. Lunch will be served from 12 noon-1 p.m. prior to the service.
Beth was born April 15, 1948 in Valley City, N.D., the daughter of Leonard “L.A.W.” and Kolleen “Pat” Stephan. She attended Valley City High School and graduated in 1966. She went on to earn a degree in Social Work from the University of North Dakota. She later attended Valley City State College and Moorhead State College, earning degrees in Teaching and Special Learning Disabilities.
During the 1970’s Beth taught elementary school in Fort Peck and Sydney, Mont. She later taught children with learning disabilities in the rural Fargo, N.D. area, Litchfield, West St. Paul and Brainerd/ Baxter, Minn. Beth strived to find a teaching method that was effective for each of her learning disabilities students, helping them learn in their individual ways. Beth married Gary Dirlam on June 30, 1979 in Valley City. They made Baxter their home for the past 28 years.
Beth will be remembered for her boundless energy and profound devotion to family, friends and children. She was always quick to offer help to anyone in need. She had the unique quality of turning strangers into friends, making them feel as if they’d known her for years. Her engaging personality left all who knew her with lasting memories.
Beth is survived by her husband Gary Dirlam, Baxter, Minn.; son Derek Dirlam and his fiancée Caitlin Hammel, Minneapolis, Minn.; three brothers and one sister: Richard Stephan, Valley City, N.D.; Gregg Stephan (Karen), Inver Grove Heights, Minn.; Dan Stephan, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Kate Stephan (Bert Hall), Fletcher, N.C.; brother-in-law Dennis Dirlam (Eileen), Ottertail, Minn.; two sisters-in-law: Dona Dirlam, Carlsbad, Calif.; and Debra Dirlam, Redwood Falls, Minn. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins who were so special to her.
Beth was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Bill.