Thalia Dee Brown

Born: Kansas City, Missouri on 20 November 1932

Passed away: Denver, Colorado on 18 August 2020

Aged: 87 years

Service Details

Memorial service TBA

The Story

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.
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Posted on behalf of Padmani:

An open letter to Dee’s friends & family. . .
Dee, I first noticed you at a Sunday morning AA meeting
on the 2nd floor of 1311 York Street, Denver. You struck
me as a kooky, flamboyant woman who loved color the
way I did. Your sincerity, authenticity, openness,
confidence, & unique perspectives impressed me next.
Later, when depression was choking the life out of me like
an ever-tightening boa constrictor, I cried out to you for
help. You invited me to your home. Once inside, I let out
a primal scream of pain.

Despite this, you did not turn away. Even to this day, I
don’t know if I could be as brave as you were. But you
saw hope where I saw none. You took me under your
wing when institutionalizing myself seemed like my only
option. It still astounds me, your ability to reach me, to
touch my heart, and calm my nerves. You were the angel
who picked me up from a pit of despair & wrapped me in
your warm embrace. Yes, you were a hugger. I’m
becoming one.

You also were practical. You helped me conduct an
on-line search for a psychiatrist. I was afraid of psychiatry.
You walked me into new territory. You made release from
suffering the paramount priority.

So, at the time of an overwhelming bring-me-to-my knees
need, I found a guide, an advocate, and a nurturing
mother figure, offering me tea or coffee, sometimes a

You had navigated your own trauma with the tools of our
program, rolfing, a holistic chiropractor, & years of study &
inquiry. And although you had been a therapist,
everything you offered me. . .time, attention, suggestions,
questions, deep listening, & wisdom stories. . .was freely

You lavished me with small gifts. . .a mug, a fairy figurine,
flowers from your garden. It was hard to make sense of
this at the time, unfamiliar as I was with this kind of
generosity. Now I know it was love. And now, Dee, my
energetic blocks to love are dissolving and I feel your
lovingkindness more deeply than when you were here in
physical form.

You introduced me to new ideas that could be tried on for
size, like spirit guides and channeling. I imagine you’re
pleased watching my developing relationship with these

And during our weekly visits, I watched you grow and
change, changes reflected in your home and garden.
Your house became more orderly, your garden more
beautiful. You modeled embracing growth and change,
even under challenging circumstances.

Thank you for the gift of sponsorship. I imagine your
smile, seeing that I continue to sponsor and aspire to
honor your legacy. Thank you for friendship. I know you
see my friendship bandwidth expanding and deepening.
Prerequisites for healing are safety and nurture. You
provided both. You are one through whom angelic forces
poured to help me. I stand in awe of this mysterious

Thank you, Dee, for the lasting gifts of kindness,
acceptance, faith, hope, & love that you transmitted to me.
Thank you for the life I have today. You were the right
person at the right time. I follow in your footsteps by
sponsoring others, offering a weekly guided meditation,
continuing to heal from trauma, trusting life to fulfill its
purpose in me, finding joy in nature, & celebrating with

You are not gone. Your legacy is rich and strong. You
are with me always. Your healing energy continues to
flow. And piecy, stick-up hair will always remind me of

Eric Brown


Posted on behalf of Robbie Burt:

I remember walking into her house on Holly and noticing all the beautiful colors in her artwork, textures rich in variation from Batiks of a fiery Redheaded woman, soft woven wall hangings, and smooth wooden statues. The art work seemed to emanate life from their creators. She loved sharing about who made them and when.
Small plants adorned every free inch of space on the window tables. A soft cozy chair awaited me in the sunroom. On a nice day we would sit under the pergola off the back porch sipping good coffee and lots of creamer.
Her little stick figures often made me smile as she spoke of new ways to view my relationships and things I could ponder to see if they could be useful. I never felt pushed or criticized, only gently nudged to explore more awareness and possibilities. Sometimes time would pass so quickly and I would find myself not wanting to leave. Her nurturing and loving kindness were healing and gentle. She really did have a gift for accepting people just where they are.
We shared a love for flowers and would often tour the garden planning new ideas for coming seasons. She delighted in watching thing grow, and I believe that included me.
I remember keys on the table at York Street, that Genelle had placed so all would know that was Dee’s spot, and I would be drawn quickly to sit next to her. I would admire her pretty nail color as she tapped them on the table, always adorned with beautiful rings that she loved. She used to tell me in her next life she would come back and be the person who got to name all the colors of nail polish and we would laugh.
I cherish the necklace she gave me when we were going through things at her home to get her ready to move into assisted living. She was easily able to let things go if they made someone else happy. She was generous and compassionate.
Her dog Molly would howl at passersby and she would shout out her “Molly, Molly, Molly!!!” and then wait until she was finished howling, and Molly did that in her own time. Later that would mean she had to say goodbye to her beloved dog, as the assisted living facility could not accommodate such unruliness. That was a sad time for Dee, but she always looked on the bright side and was glad Molly found a good family to live with.
Many of us wanted Dee’s transition to leaving her home and so many of her freedoms to be as painless as possible. We made sure her apartment was a microcosm of her home, filed with her favorite possessions.
Several of us brought consistent AA meetings to her when she first arrived to help her adjust. She delighted in the messages we all shared and the friendships she had created. It was such a testament to the gifts of the AA program and people she had surrounded herself with. We don’t shoot our wounded, and we support and care for each other. In her case it was to the end of her life, as best as we could.
Her presence at York Street had always been inspiring for so many of us and it was an honor to give back to her where we could. She so looked forward to getting out and going to meetings that rejuvenated her and sustained her ability to accept what was happening to her in her later years. Many volunteered to make that happen, but one best friend in particular, Genelle went way beyond the call.
Even as her memory began to fail her faith remained strong. She might not have known what she said 10 minutes ago, but she knew her spiritual principles as a tool for a happy life inside and out. Over her 41 years of sobriety, she shared her wisdom with countless numbers of us in the program. She lived the principles of integrity, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and service. She was especially good at being completely present with you and helped many of us regain trust that someone cared about us often pointing out our wins over adversity.
She noticed young children delighting in themselves and always had words of encouragement. She consistently extended kindness wherever she found herself, knowing that was what had helped heal her.
She was one of the first people who verbalized something so significant to me that I will hold in my heart forever. When we would discuss our fears and relate our views about dying, she was clear and truthful. She was not afraid of dying, only afraid of living a life without purpose. Thank God she chose to be of service to so many of us who love and cherish her wisdom, nurturing, and faith. Her legacy remains her loving nature and her willingness to continue growing in awareness with humility and grace, no matter what she was given. She knew she was not alone and helped so many of us to realize that too.
She would remind me “Easy does it!” “It will all be ok!”, and “TRUST GOD WITH EVERYTHING…!!!!”
I will miss that beautiful smile. Those hands extended across the table in total unconditional loving, and her sweet, sweet hugs!
You live in my heart now, my beloved Dee.

Eric Brown


Anthony Brown shared a photo.


Memories of a great friend and the best mom ever.

Anthony Brown shared a video.


May the long time sun
Shine up on you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.

Kundalini Yoga farewell blessing submitted by Suzanne

Eric Brown