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Funeral services for North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem set for Thursday in Bismarck

The longest-serving attorney general in North Dakota history died unexpectedly on Friday at 68 years old.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
Forum News Service file photo
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BISMARCK — Funeral services will be held later this week for North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who died unexpectedly on Friday.

The public funeral is set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Bismarck Event Center. Stenehjem's body will be held in Memorial Hall at the Capitol for public visitation on Wednesday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The longest serving attorney general in North Dakota history, Stenehjem died Friday at age 68, just a month after announcing his plans to retire at the end of this year.

Stenehjem was found unresponsive at his Bismarck home Friday morning and taken to the hospital, where he died that evening.

No cause of death has been made public. Rep. Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck, director at Bismarck Funeral Home, said a certificate of death noting the cause likely would not be produced this week, and specifics will have to be supplied by the family.

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At an event announcing his plans to retire in December, Stenehjem said he was looking forward to spending more time traveling and spending time around Bismarck with his recently retired wife.

Stenehjem spent more than four decades in North Dakota government. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1976, where he served four years before crossing over the Senate, where he spent two decades.

He was elected attorney general in 2000 and went on to win five subsequent elections as the state's top law enforcement official.

Gov. Doug Burgum on Sunday directed all government agencies to continue flying their flags at half-staff until sunset on Thursday, encouraging North Dakota residents to do the same.

Stenehjem's office will remain vacant until Burgum appoints a successor. Governor's spokesman Mike Nowatzki said their office would not be discussing those plans until after the funeral.

In the meantime, Chief Deputy Attorney General Troy Seibel is leading the office, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at awillis@forumcomm.com.

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