Cover photo for Dean Behse's Obituary
Dean Behse Profile Photo
1942 Dean 2023

Dean Behse

July 8, 1942 — April 22, 2023



Dean Pickering Behse passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, April 22, in Sacramento, California, after a short hospital stay due to complications from lung cancer. A life well-lived full of love, adventure, good times, and hard work are the hallmarks of Dean’s life. Dean was grateful and proud of his family, cherished his friendships, and appreciated the beauty of nature and being outdoors hiking, biking, skiing, swimming, sea kayaking and golfing.

Dean was born in Pasadena, California, on July 8, 1942, to James Breslin Behse and Maude Van Buskirk Behse. Dean spent his childhood enjoying the southern California sunshine with days at the beach with his parents. He graduated from John Muir High School in 1960 and left Pasadena to attend Colorado College. In Colorado, Dean found his love for the mountains and skiing. Dean transferred to Oregon State and graduated in 1966 with a degree in civil engineering. While attending Oregon State, he went skiing at Mt. Bachelor and met a beautiful red-headed coed named Carolyn Christensen on the slopes. They fell in love and married on June 18, 1966, in McMinnville, Oregon.

Dean and Carolyn moved to Denver, Colorado, after marriage and then moved to Bellevue, Washington, for Dean's construction management position. In 1968, Dean was offered a project manager position with Calico Company which was building the Prospector Condominiums off Warm Springs Road in Ketchum, Idaho. During that time in Sun Valley, Dean and Carolyn purchased their first home in Hulen Meadows and shortly thereafter bought an A-frame cabin on Warm Springs Road. In 1970, their son Doug was born, followed by their daughter Mindy in 1973.

In 1974, Dean and Carolyn moved back to Bellevue, Washington, where Dean was offered a construction management position building hospitals throughout the US. Dean enjoyed buying and selling real estate as his weekend job. Dean built and designed their home in Bellevue in 1976, where they lived for 40 years and raised their children in the quintessential community of Tam-O-Shanter.

Dean loved the outdoors, especially sea kayaking with his friends on Puget Sound. Dean climbed Mt. Rainer in 1980 and frequently skied at Crystal Mountain. Dean enjoyed competitive swimming and participated in several Master Swimming Championships in the 1990s with Carolyn. Dean was a member of the Bellevue YMCA Masters team and the Bellevue Club Masters team in the 2000s. He also managed to run the New York City Marathon in 1985 and compete in several local triathlons. Dean and Carolyn returned frequently to ski at Sun Valley in the winter and spend summers hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains.

Since he enjoyed managing construction projects, he built his own warehouse building in Lynwood, Washington, in 1998. This project was Dean’s proudest building project and one he continued to manage and enjoy until his passing. Dean served on various homeowner’s association boards of directors in each community he lived in. Most importantly, he loved meeting new people, talking with neighbors, and spending time with friends and family. Dean was a loyal friend throughout his adult life.

Dean and Carolyn had an ‘active’ retirement plan of skiing and hiking in Sun Valley, socializing with friends in Bellevue, and traveling extensively worldwide around the world. Dean and Carolyn were adventure travelers swimming and snorkeling around coral reefs in Indonesia, hiking the Canadian Rockies, river rafting the Grand Canyon, and biking around Europe wine tasting. Dean also took his own adventures with his sea kayaking friends around Puget Sound and fishing in Alaska.

In 2016, Dean and Carolyn decided they wanted to spend more time in the sunshine of Palm Springs swimming and golfing. They loved spending winters in Palm Springs, summers in Sun Valley, and visits to Bellevue to see longtime friends.

In 2020, Dean and Carolyn moved to Sacramento, California, to be closer to their daughter and her family. Dean loved to watching his granddaughters play soccer and swim. During the past couple of years, Dean found joy watching his grandson play baseball. In addition to watching the grandkids play sports, he really enjoyed family dinners, holidays, and milestone celebrations with his immediate family.

Dean is survived by his wife of 56 years, Carolyn Jane Christensen Behse who he loved dearly and forever. His son, Douglass C. Behse, from Ketchum, Idaho, his daughter, Mindy B. Salvetti, and son-in-law, A.J. Salvetti, from Sacramento, California. His grandchildren, Bella Salvetti (18), Lucy Salvetti (16), and Joey Salvetti (12). Dean was predeceased by his brother James N. Behse.

A family celebration of Dean’s life will take place in Ketchum, Idaho, during the summer months. The family welcomes tributes and memories of Dean. The family would like to extend their appreciation and gratitude to Dean’s health care team. Dean was very grateful to all those that reached out to him and his family with love and support this past year.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to American Lung Association, Dean was a non-smoker, and yet was still affected by this disease. Due to incredible medical breakthroughs in cancer treatment drugs, Dean had an exceptional quality of life this past year, and his family is forever grateful for this extra gift of time.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dean Behse, please visit our flower store.


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