Rick Stein lived an interesting life, to say the least. According to his obituary, he was a restaurant owner, jeweler and oriental rug dealer, political satirist, and sports columnist for ESPN. No one in his family could seem to agree on what he did. He was a man of mystery and mystique. From the first few sentences, Stein’s obituary draws readers in.
“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…”
The mysterious opening is unlike anything we’ve ever seen published in an obituary. Clearly, Mr. Stein’s family decided to have some fun when crafting this one-of-a-kind obituary. If you enjoyed the opening few lines, make sure to read on because the obituary only gets better from there.
Instead of crafting a traditional obituary, Stein’s family decided to do something a little more unique. The obituary uses the clever storytelling tactic to talk about the family Stein leaves behind. All the while it gets more and more engaging with every tale of how a different family member remembers him. Some of our favorite lines include:
“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.”
“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.”
Of course, the best part of the obituary comes at the end. The creative obituary ends with a touching moment that brings a peaceful ending to this crazy tale. It really leaves you feeling as though you wish you had gotten the chance to meet Rick Stein during his life.
As great as the obituary is, our favorite part has to be the condolences sections. Friends, family, and complete strangers have kept the mystery of Rick Stein alive by sharing stories of encounters they had with Rick. Here is a selection of some of our favorites.
Dennis writes: “While Rick was helping me install the turbocharger in my El Camino he somehow talked me into hiking the Appalachian Trail with him that winter. We made it home alive but just barely. Never saw anyone wearing only a Speedo fight off a bear before. Anyhow — great trip, great guy!”
Ted writes: “My fondest memory of Rick is the time we spent in a holding cell in Washington, DC after a two-day march against Red Dye #2. Crammed into an overcrowded cell with no food or water for two weeks, Rick kept our spirits up, regaling us with stories of his years living with the bush en of the Kalahari, and led us in rousing choruses of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Nick writes: “The last time I saw him was while we were escorted out of the Vatican after we accidentally sold half of the Catholic Church to the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay off our timeshare Ski Chalet in Nova Scotia. I was a mess and wrought with shame, but it was Rick who guided me out of my storm.”