Rick Stein
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Rick Stein

Wilmington - Rick Stein, 71, of Wilmington was reported missing and presumed dead on September 27, 2018 when investigators say the single-engine plane he was piloting, The Northrop, suddenly lost communication with air traffic control and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rehoboth Beach. Philadelphia police confirm Stein had been a patient at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he was being treated for a rare form of cancer. Hospital spokesman Walter Heisenberg says doctors from Stein's surgical team went to visit him on rounds when they discovered his room was empty. Security footage shows Stein leaving the building at approximately 3:30 Thursday afternoon, but then the video feed mysteriously cuts off. Authorities say they believe Stein took an Uber to the Philadelphia airport where they assume he somehow gained access to the aircraft.

"The sea was angry that day," said NTSB lead investigator Greg Fields in a press conference. "We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely."

Stein's location isn't the only mystery. It seems no one in his life knew his exact occupation.

His daughter, Alex Walsh of Wilmington appeared shocked by the news. "My dad couldn't even fly a plane. He owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and knew every answer on Jeopardy. He did the New York Times crossword in pen. I talked to him that day and he told me he was going out to get some grappa. All he ever wanted was a glass of grappa."

Stein's brother, Jim echoed similar confusion. "Rick and I owned Stuart Kingston Galleries together. He was a jeweler and oriental rug dealer, not a pilot." Meanwhile, Missel Leddington of Charlottesville claimed her brother was a cartoonist and freelance television critic for the New Yorker.

David Walsh, Stein's son-in-law, said he was certain Stein was a political satirist for the Huffington Post while grandsons Drake and Sam said they believed Stein wrote an internet sports column for ESPN covering Duke basketball, FC Barcelona soccer, the Denver Broncos and the Tour de France. Stein's granddaughter Evangeline claims he was a YouTube sensation who had just signed a seven-figure deal with Netflix.

When told of his uncle's disappearance, Edward Stein said he was baffled since he believed Stein worked as a trail guide in Rocky Mountain National Park. "He took me on a hike up the Lily Peak Trail back in the 90s. He knew every berry, bush and tree on that trail." Nephew James Stein of Los Angeles claimed his uncle was an A&R consultant for Bad Boy records and ran a chain of legal recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado called Casablunta. Niece Courtney Stein, a former Hollywood agent, said her uncle had worked as a contributing writer for Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and was currently consulting on a new series with Larry David.

People who knew Stein have reported his occupation as everything from gourmet chef and sommelier to botanist, electrician, mechanic and even spy novelist. Police say the volume of contradictory information will make it nearly impossible to pinpoint Stein's exact location.

In fact, the only person who might be able to answer the question, who is the real Rick Stein is his wife and constant companion for the past 14 years, Susan Stein. Detectives say they were unable to interview Mrs. Stein, however neighbors say they witnessed her leaving the home the couple shared wearing dark sunglasses and a fedora, loading multiple suitcases into her car. FAA records show she purchased a pair of one-way tickets to Rome which was Mr. Stein's favorite city. An anonymous source with the airline reports the name used to book the other ticket was Juan Morefore DeRoad, which, according to the FBI, was an alias Stein used for many years.

That is one story.

Another story is that Rick never left the hospital and died peacefully with his wife and his daughter holding tightly to his hands.

You can choose which version you want to believe or share your own story about Rick with us at the Greenville Country Club on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 3:00-6:00pm or at the Hotel Boulderado on Thursday, November 29th from 3:00-6:00pm.

For online condolences, please visit www.chandlerfuneralhome.com.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The News Journal on Oct. 7, 2018.
Celebration of Life
03:00 - 06:00 PM
Celebration of Life
03:00 - 06:00 PM
Hotel Boulderado
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50 entries
January 10, 2020
it was a dark and stormy tuesday afternoon when I got the message that dear, dear Father Rick had gone to glory. he was a great priest and friend, and he will be sorely missed by all the ladies of the st. ignatius of overlook ladies auxiliary and monday night football club. his inspired and inspiring sermons will be missed by all, and his delight in blowing out the altar candles (to the dismay of the altar guild) are memories shared by the whole congregation. farewell, father rick, and may you rise in glory.
RoseAnn Evans
October 7, 2019
It is official, he shall be presumed dead no longer! I know this because he came ripping through the carport 9/21/19 squealing the tires on my Dad's '95 Corvette, the top was down Rick was yelling at my Dad to get in. Dad did a swan dive into the car, none of us could act fast enough to stop them. They went peeling out of the driveway headed south on Route 11...
Allison Rittiner
October 2, 2019
We had supper with Rick last night. Liver and onions, of course. Always his favorite.

As usual, the cat sat on his lap and begged for leftovers.
Knancy Simon
October 1, 2019
While in the diminutive German village of Rommelsdoff (east of Cologne) I heard a booming voice singing the Rivers Of Babylon. It was the siren sound of a life well lived. Several people had already walked over to the sausage vendor and were listening intently to his wonderful voice. Having known Rick Stein while working backstage at the Grand Ole Opre, I immediately recognized him when he emphasized Zion. Our eyes met and Rick realized who I was immediately. He winked at me and put his index finger to his lips. That was just two weeks ago.
Don Yates
October 1, 2019
Just the other evening, coming back from watching the football, I decided to visit my local chip shop. I wasn't paying much attention while in the queue, until a couple of ladies ahead of me started swooning when the guy behind the counter began to sing Teddy Bear in a very accurate Elvis voice. Even I thought it had to be The King himself, it was so exactly like the record, but no! He denied it when I asked, but I am convinced that guy in my local chip shop was our beloved Rick. Uh huh huh.
Roger Noble
May 30, 2019
To the family of Rick Stein

We are all so sorry to hear of Rick's untimely death. He will be sorely missed by the world-famous Eunice Symphony Orchestra.

Rick has been a regular attender at every concert and once took up a collection to buy shoes for our bass player.

An especially poignant memory for us all is April 14, 2019, the final evening he served as our guest conductor. Rick wildly danced the hokey pokey while conducting the orchestra's rendition of Funeral March of a Marionette

A tragic loss of a truly talented man.

RIP Rick.
Nancy Simon
May 27, 2019
Ummm..Rick & I had a couple of cold beers last night at Sharkey's in Panama City Beach, Fl. He was going to rent a pontoon boat today and I was going to go with him. I woke up with a hangover and skipped the trip. I don't quite remember where he was headed next, but I think he said Graceland? I look forward to Rick's next visit here, we had a good time!
Diane Roberts
May 24, 2019
So shocked to hear that Rick died and all the mysterious things about his life. My condolences go out to the family. We were family friends beginning with Maury and Mel, Nita, all the kids and remember the great times in Rehoboth.
Julie Kimelman Allen
May 16, 2019
"... only hope there are people who will care enough to share something so engaging about me whenever/however my life ends...."

What an awesome thought and what an awesome family!!!

couldn't agree more, i was so happy to see another entry today! THANK YOU, YOU WONDERFUL FAMILY, for sharing your kindness and love!
valerie becker
May 15, 2019
What a lucky man, whatever the truth of his life and death may be. I only hope there are people who will care enough to share something so engaging about me whenever/however my life ends.
What an awesome family.
Kathleen Madrid
March 8, 2019
I didn't know your dad. I don't know your family. But that is the most touching tribute I've ever read. It made me laugh and it made me cry.
I hope that time is helping to ease your pain.
Bless you.

Sari Bobbin
Queensbury, NY
Sari Bobbin
January 29, 2019
Condolences to everyone on the loss of a great man. Rest in paradise Rick.
January 23, 2019
Rick's love for "small creatures that creepeth" is well-known. Suffice it to say that when Philly experienced a record 8 degrees at dawn earlier this week, it would have been a cold morning indeed for my pair of pet mice in the yard--they don't go far, believe me--had Rick not helped with the painstaking task of knitting two tiny sweaters for them around Labor Day last year. We met in the knitting shop where I spotted a man in a fedora lovingly fondling the acrylics. His eye for detail and flair for the growing and highly competitive field of pet fashion turned out to be unmatched, and I'll be forever thankful that he insisted on helping with the selection of the yarn itself. I was going for a combination of red and green that I thought would look "Christmasy" this winter and had my heart set on an "ugly sweater" theme. It was Rick who suggested the admittedly drabber brown and green we ultimately went with instead, and the tiny leaf pattern that I personally would never have thought of, to camouflage them from predators. (It's true that he is not so excited about the "larger things that pounceth.") Now I watch from the window and laugh and laugh as one stray cat after another attempts to catch my mice but stops in confusion as they--thanks to their cleverly designed little outfits--seem to "disappear" into the shrubbery just as Rick said they would!!!
Rosa Michnya
January 1, 2019
My condolences to you all. Please know that Rick lives on as I've stolen Juan Morefore DeRoad as my online moniker.
Ed H.
December 27, 2018
I believe the first story. And I always will.
Brian E Brandt
November 3, 2018

My daughter shares a birthday with the day Rick passed, so there is a little poetry in discussing his passing presently. I took time this morning to read his obituary to my teenagers, who haven't seen him in several years. As I began, my youngest (and the most literal of my two), was wide-eyed in disbelief and wondered why they weren't searching harder for his plane. As I continued, a sly smile crept onto my older daughter's face, as she began to realize the unveiling of the real Rick through fiction -- as reality often manifests.

Our Saturday morning entertainment comes thanks to you, wonderful Rick, and this vast entourage of your admirers, co-conspirators, distant, unknown and nonexistent friends and relatives! Uplifting! Reminds me how important it is to live and love with gusto, flair, and passion. Humanity just moved up a notch in my mind today!! Love all those who posted and I don't know any of you.

I wish there were more Rick Steins and Rick-Stein admirer-types in the world. What an exquisitely wonderful world it would be!
Katia Patterson
October 31, 2018
Beautiful obituary. Please accept my sincere condolences. May the God of all comfort provides you with the comfort you will need during this difficult time.
October 29, 2018
Rick and I were part of a two-person mindreading act in the late 70's and early 80's. We were fortunate enough to perform for many people, from farmers to celebrities, and heads of state, including the then director of the CIA. We were then asked to help deep cover CIA agents in the subtle art of mindreading. As a result and mainly due to Rick's extraordinary mental skills, more than a few terrible events were averted and several "bad actors" were brought to justice.

We broke up the act when some of the "bad actor" controllers sought us out in revenge. I won't go into details here, but Rick saved my skin a few times as well by accurately predicting when foul play was about to befall me.

His gifts of precognition and telepathy are legendary in the mentalist community. We lost a good one when Rick passed on.

Now, Rick knows all and is hoping sending telepathic messages of love and hope to those he cared for.
Terry Tyson
October 27, 2018
So sorry - and what an amazing way to be remembered! Mary K. Farmer Shaughnessy, Holton-Arms class of '68.
October 25, 2018
Rick saved me from a certain death at Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica. I was slipping on the rocks, freezing in the water, and stubbed the living crap out of my big toe. Bleeding, crying, scared of the rest of the trek down the rocks, I collapsed on the bed of the bank. I could go no further. Rick helped me up and pulled a flask out of pocket and lifted my lips up to the best sangria I ever had. Immediately the flush of well-being set in.... he escorted me down the falls to safety. I saw him again at Jamaica's hot spot "Rick's Bar" cliff diving from the ledge. I think if you all check on his whereabouts, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Ziggy Marley
October 24, 2018
My sincere condolences for your loss. May God be a source of comfort during this time. Ps. 94:19 When anxieties overwhelmed me, You comforted and soothed me.
October 22, 2018
Mr. Stein threatened me with litigation and thus when we launched the beer campaign for "The Most Interesting Man in The World" We were forced to claim he was a figment of alcoholic imagination. But obviously it could only be based on quick Rick.
Dos Equis
October 22, 2018
I met Juan or Rick as you've written many years ago in Rome. I was vacationing there as a guest of my cousin who was involved in creating a conference center with the Vatican as his client. We had met Juan and his lovely wife twice before but as he walked toward us for a third meeting, a motorcade pulled up beside him, stopped, and out came several security agents and Pope John Paul II. Imagine my shock when the pontiff knelt down and spoke in perfect English, "I keel before thy holiness".
J Gavin Lipka
October 21, 2018
I'm in shock. I had an intense crush on Rick in 1979 and was lucky enough to date him. He once told me a story about how he and his buddies would put places in a pot and blindly pick out a place to go for the weekend with no clothing or luggage and just buy their attire once they arrived. I moved to Denver in 1981 and Rick moved to Boulder some time after that. I have good memories of Rick and a clear knowledge of what he did for a living both in Delaware and in Colorado. At Stuart Kingston he was a jeweler and I was surprised when he opened restaurants in Boulder. This was a man of many talents so he may have done some of everything listed. Wherever he is he will be missed by those who knew and loved him.
Michele Fields
October 20, 2018

Condolences to the family.
Belden Raymond
October 20, 2018
Its been many years but he taught every dog I ever owned, how to swim. He started them off wearing life jackets while he oared a boat around a lake. To get them use to the water. Eventually, he would toss out a rubber ducky for them to jump in and fetch. The ones most scared, Rick would jump in first and grab the duck by his mouth. To show them what to do. He wore paw gloves and flippers to look like paws. But the best, was the special swim suit he wore that had a tail he could make wag to prove its fun in water. Such a delightful man who did not mind looking silly. Just so some dogs could learn to swim. He even taught one to be a life guard!
L Johnson
October 19, 2018
Rick Stein helped me identify eight species of edible mushroom, and two that were not so good. But what a memorable weekend!
John Montague
October 19, 2018
My sympathy upon the passing of your dad and grandfather. Your loving and special tribute to this man has fostered a loving community of fellowship and support for your family from all across the world. We need more peaceful communication and I think your Dad would have LOVED all of this. In lieu of saying Grace one night last week, as our entire family dined on a vacation trip, our daughter read Rick's obituary and we toasted him. To Rick, wherever he has landed!
Pam Orndorff and Family
October 18, 2018
After losing my vision during a football game as a youth, I was depressed and lonely. Football was the only thing I cared about as a kid. I could sing a little, but it was just for fun.

One day I was singing outside and really belting some big notes. When I was finished I heard the unmistakable noise of someone clapping. A man approached me and said kid, you got the voice of an angel. "You may not be able to see anymore, but the world deserves to hear your voice. Even a blind man can see your talent."

After that kind man told me this and raised my confidence, I devoted my life to singing. That man was Rick Stein.
Andrea Bocelli
October 18, 2018
Ringo and Rick
Rick was a forgotten but very significant factor in the success of the Beatles. Those of you Beatles buffs who know Beatles history will recall that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were playing at the same venues in Liverpool for 2 years when Paul brought in George Harrison, convincing John that George would help them get to the next level. But they remained fairly local for yet another year until someone introduced them to Ringo Starr. It was Rick Stein who introduced John, Paul, and George to Ringo. Once Ringo was part of the Beatles, they took off like a rocket soon after Rick Stein convinced Ed Sullivan to have them on his show. The rest is history. Until now, Rick Stein was a forgotten part of that incredible history. But you might notice him on the cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He's right behind that lady with the big blue hat on the left.

P.S. Did you notice that Father Mckenzie was the presiding official at the funeral?
Billy Shears
October 18, 2018
I told you we we're drinking, this was the only clear picture we got on the whole trip!
Bless the souls who are wild and free
Unbounded by rules and politics
Not hindered by the five senses
Bless the souls who are wild and free
God help that soul to be me.......

I admit, we we're drinking when we wrote this on our train trip through Alaska after college, but it was the last "hurrah" before entering the real world and Ricks wild and free soul was apparent long before he left this world. I was always inspired by his soul.
Allison Rittiner
October 17, 2018
He was my favorite ballroom dancing partner. We'll dance again someday.
With love and respect,
October 17, 2018
World War 2 Ace.
October 17, 2018
I did not know Rick....but I sure wish I had! I think my life would be much richer had I met him.
Ronda Vannoy
October 16, 2018
Peace, love and light to you all. What a fantastic send off.
Meagan Watkins
October 15, 2018
It was supposed to be a quick paddle-board trip around Point Wilson but it quickly became a life-and-death situation as the riptides started dragging us towards the San Juans, through the shipping channel. That would have been pretty bad by itself but there were heavy winds screaming down the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Even the resident orcas were scrambling for safe harbor. I had just finished writing my own obituary in my head when a chopper came out of nowhere and sent down a rescue bucket! It must have been Rick! Of course there was so much noise and water and screaming and crying that it was hard to have a conversation with him, but I remember that he said, "Ma'am, no problem. I just happened to be here with the chopper and the winch. Sit back and relax with some single malt scotch while I fly you back home."
Naomi Arhat
October 15, 2018
There is NOTHING worse than being on stage with a thousand different people watching and waiting for you to bust out the first song of your set and your hypeman not being there to back you up. That's when I seen him, Rick Stein came from backstage as the smoke machine filled the stage with fog. The beat dropped, I began my first verse and by God as my witness there was Rick Stein hyping me knowing every single word to my songs with perfect timing in unison.
I'm not sure what COULD have happened in that moment when I didn't have a hypeman but I do know with Rick Stein spitting on the mic it was the best performance of my life. He will be missed... R.I.P Emcee Rick Stein.
Jason Tampanello
October 15, 2018
I was adrift in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea on a poorly made raft, with only a knife and my wits. I threw the knife at a fish, missed and was about to despair when Rick appeared in a rowboat. He pulled me to safety and cared for me until I was well enough to walk. By that point, he had earned my undying loyalty and then took me along for a heist of the greatest casinos in the Balkans. He played poker better than Sinatra and could dance better than Jesus. Rest easy, Rick.
October 15, 2018
Sincere condolences to the family. When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure in your heart and it lives forever. May the wonderful treasures fill your hearts with love and bring you peace, Hosea 13:14.
October 15, 2018

Sorry to hear about your loss. May the God of all comfort give you strength and peace during this difficult time.
Jeremiah 29:11
- with heartfelt sympathy
October 15, 2018
When I was in Vietnam in 1970, Rick appeared to me as a winged angel with a spare belt of M-60 ammo..... and a couple extra WP grenades.....We waxed 'em that day, RICK!!
Dennis V ogt
October 15, 2018
As a resident of Wilmington, DE I can affirm, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Rick Stein passed while in the midst of conducting a valuable service to our country. As a 'Black Ops' federal agent, Rick was known as a master of disguise, recently working undercover in the trade of black market Legos. He'd assumed the alias of Jane 'Brick Mama' DuPlasse, a 5'3" tall Eurasian woman with a penchant for skulduggery and a VERY short fuse. Under this assumed identity, he had risen quickly to the rank of Second Lieutenant where he was charged with all North American distribution efforts. The position was wrought with peril and he had to be pulled from the assignment when his assumed life started to mix too closely with his real life. Rick Stein, you will be missed.
John Wiz
October 15, 2018
Rick taught me to play guitar. We're jammin' again.
Jimi Hendricks
October 15, 2018
Rest in peace, Rick. I'll never forget the time my family and I were on a camping trip on the east side of the Sierra and a hawk swooped down and picked up our dog by the strap of her harness. I started screaming, seemingly in vain, as the hawk flew off with its dinner, soaring higher and higher up in the air. Fortunately Rick Stein was staying in the campsite right next to us and he managed to quickly turn a climbing robe into a lasso and he lassoed that pup right out of the hawk's grasp. Thanks, Rick for saving my best friend.
Sarah Pittman
October 14, 2018
There I was, on Lake Muroc, fly-fishing off a jet-ski and having absolutely no success. But, there was a man fishing from an ancient row boat and filling it with MONSTER fish. When I asked how he did it, he reached into his bathing suit and came out with a night crawler.

"I keep my worms warm."

He said it was a trick he learned from a dead Indian and I was free to use it.

With his passing I think it's only fitting that I pass it along to all, to add to his legacy to the world.
Dale Warren
October 14, 2018
I envy people who really got to know Mr. Stein. I am sure he'll be deeply missed.
I am reading this from thousands of miles away wondering if the Rick Stein I got to know while traveling to South America is the same one. I remember him telling me about his beloved family and friends back home.
I am sure he'll be happy seeing people around the world joining this celebration of life. Que descanses en paz!
Maria Cantero
October 14, 2018
Rick... I wish I knew you before you went on this journey... I'm not going to write any phony story about you like others do...but...I wish my daughter will have a courage and reason to write similar obituary... You did good!
Andre *
October 14, 2018
Rick Stein. Rick Stein! The original first words of Mark Twain's classic, Tom Sawyer. How did Mark Twain already know Mr. Stein so long before he was even born? Most people know that Twain was born when Halley's comet passed the Earth and died when it next passed. This amazing fact led him to know greatness even before it was incarnate. He only changed the name to Tom Sawyer to avoid future copyright problems once Mr. Stein was born.

A great man is only as great as the love he creates in others. That's how we all know Rick Stein was the greatest. My condolences to his wonderful, loved family.
Kathy Roberts
October 14, 2018
I Was Just informed that he was one of our group that is tracking and concealing several family units of Big Foot, around the country, his good works will be missed, and will ensure that the species will continue to exist without interference.

Thanks to him.
Bubba Hodges
October 14, 2018
So sorry to hear of your passing Ricardo!! I will never forget our balloon ride around the world that summer. God bless you and your family.
Tia Maloney
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