Memorial service TBA
Thalia Dee Brown, a Denver psychotherapist with a specialty in addiction and trauma abuse, died at Sunrise at Cherry Creek on August 18, 2020 at the age of 87. She was a prominent member of the York Street Club and other Denver AA groups where she was always ready to volunteer as a sponsor.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., Dee was the daughter of artists Cecil and Blanche Carstenson. She attended Missouri Valley College and returned to KC to marry William S. Brown at the age of 20. Dee was a loving mother to their children Laura, Eric, and Tony Brown, who survive her along with her ex-husband Bill and her late brother Blue’s children David Carstenson and Cindy Kalinoski.
In the late 50’s, Dee and Bill moved to New York City and other East Coast locales before settling with their family in Greenwood, Mo. In 1959. In 1966, the family moved to Kansas City.
When not running the Brown household, Dee attended classes at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and earned a BA degree in Sociology. She volunteered for community groups, including co-managing an interracial Fellowship House community center. She and the family ran the KC office of Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign and she often hosted “seminars” with friends to discuss current events. At home, Dee was a loving mother and one of the best cooks in the neighborhood. She baked bread and cooked up exotic Mediterranean and Asian dishes well before it became fashionable.
In 1971, the family moved to Denver’s Congress Park neighborhood. Over the years, Dee volunteered at the library, community groups, and with political campaigns including Pat Schroeder’s first primary campaign. After her divorce in 1978, Dee started attending AA meetings at the York Street Club and celebrated her first AA “birthday” in 1980. For several years she lived with her partner Carlos Valenzuela, an artist and York Street member.
In 1991, Dee earned a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and Counseling from Boulder Graduate School. After working several years for a therapy practice, she started her own practice specializing in addiction and trauma abuse. In the ‘90s she specialized in ritual abuse cases and published a handbook on the subject.
Dee was a skilled and empathetic listener and helped her clients take control of their lives. After hours, she volunteered at York Street. Despite the tragic stories she heard every day, she was always known for her optimism and playful sense of humor.
Dee loved to drive up to the mountains in her Fiat 124 sportscar. For several decades she owned a cabin that she and her family helped build up at 11,500 feet under Horseshoe Mountain near Fairplay. Dee loved caring for her canine pets, starting with the family dog Andy, and moving on to Booblah, Chuck, Pandora, Sam, and Molly. She enjoyed traveling with friends, including trips to Mexico, Europe, and Dubai. When she traveled to Europe with her mother Blanche, they learned to reconcile their differences and accept each other as friends.
Most of all, she enjoyed the company of her many friends and visits from her children and grandchildren. In the early years her three kids lived in the San Francisco Bay Area before Eric took off to the East Coast and Tony moved back to Colorado. Dee flew out for visits and to attend the weddings of her sons Eric and Tony. She helped Eric and his wife Cindy care for Dee’s newborn grandchildren Cecilia and Isabela.
When Dee bought her house on Holly Street in the early years of the Millennium, she rediscovered her love of gardening with the help of her friend Robbie Burt. In 2016, Dee moved into Sunrise Assisted Living where her mother Blanche had spent her last years. Despite a battle with dementia, Dee lived a rich life until the Covid-19 lock-down of 2020. She enjoyed chatting with her Sunrise neighbors and she often ventured out with her best friend Genelle Hamaker, who would drive her to AA meetings, visits with friends, and to her beloved Rocky Mountains.
Dee sponsored and inspired many AA members over her 41 years of sobriety in AA. Her wisdom and heart live on in the recovery of many sponsee’s, grand sponsee’s, great grand sponsee’s and Friends in the program.
A Friend writes: “Dee’s unconditional devotion to helping others was steadfast and endearing
She helped people realize they are not alone and that they don’t have to live in fear.”
York Street Club plans hold a memorial meeting for Dee at some point in the future. In addition, the family will gather to honor Dee and release her ashes in the summer of 2021.