Virginia Rose Steen, 47; Helped Free Husband in Lebanon

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Virginia Rose Steen, 47, who worked to free her husband from captivity in Lebanon, died Dec. 19 in Casper, Wyo. of complications from the flu, her family said.

Steen, a Jackson, Mich. native, was widely honored for her work on behalf of her husband, Alann, one of four people kidnapped in Beirut in January, 1987. He was released in December 1991.

The Detroit News named her Michiganian of the Year in 1991. She and her husband helped light the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., the same year, and they received the State Bar of Michigan’s Liberty Bell Award in 1992.

Alann Steen, who moved with his wife to Wyoming in 1992, described her as a strong, private person who still touched many others.

She taught fine arts at Beirut University College, where she met her husband, a communications professor. She witnessed her husband’s kidnapping by Islamic extremists posing as riot police and stayed in the country for the next two years to work for his release.


Steen joined her husband in teaching at Casper College and also taught art history at the University of Wyoming. She put that career on hold for a time when she gave birth to their daughter, Alia, in 1994.