GERALDINE CARLEN STEEN
Geraldine Carlen Steen
June 22, 1940 – March 7, 2012
Geraldine Carlen Steen (Gerri) was a remarkable woman, both from a professional level and personal. She grew up in Missoula, Montana. Gerri graduated from Carlton College in 1962, received a post-graduate degree from Columbia University in 1966, in Liturgical Music, and received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 1987. Gerri not only was a church organist for most of her life, a choir director and teacher, but she also taught family law at William Mitchell for many years and practiced law. Right after graduating from law school, Gerri became a law clerk for the Honorable Chief Justice Douglas Amdahl of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Gerri was a board member of Children and Family Services and also contributed greatly to the Heifer Project International.
Gerri was married to John Steen for thirty-three years. She had one son, Michael Steen, and was also a step-mother to John’s four children. Gerri dearly loved her family and her and John’s grandchildren.
Gerri was a Partner at the law firm of Beckman & Steen with Jennifer Beckman for 17 years and a friend for 28 years having met in law school. She worked in the areas of family law, criminal defense and personal injury. She loved both litigation and negotiating settlements.
Gerri thoroughly enjoyed teaching family law at William Mitchell, and reveled in preparing impossible exams for the students to attempt to figure out her many hidden issues. She never forgot case law and had an uncanny ability to remember minute details of her own cases.
Arguing in either District Court, or the Court of Appeals, was something she would look forward to. She loved to be “on stage” if you will. Gerri’s huge personality preceded her physical entrance into a room. Her ability to laugh at the most stressful of times was one of her greatest assets. A great honor for anyone who was fortunate enough to know Gerri, was her passion, as well as compassion, for those in pain. Gerri cared about her family, her friends, her co-workers and her clients.
Gerri wasn’t just another attorney in a typical law firm. She looked at those who worked with her at Beckman & Steen as her family and it really was like a second family to her. She will be remembered for her incessant knitting (having to leave her knitting needles at the security desk at the courthouse), her ability to never forget a punch line of a joke, her love of music, her passion for travel, especially Mexico, her obsession with the color red (including wearing it during a trial), her inclination to read trashy novels to escape the realities of the day, and her quirky sense of humor.
Everyone who knew Gerri well took away with them a feeling of being loved and cared for in the most genuine way. She was an extraordinary woman who is greatly missed. They broke the mold with Gerri.