Unlike the usual Happy Monday light-hearted fare, I am posting something serious, a true first for this series of Monday posts. This is a warm and touching obituary, a tribute to a truly remarkable man. I hope it brings hope and cheer on this Happy Monday.
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 news conference. ‘We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely.’
His daughter, Alex Walsh, stated Stein owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado. “He 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 stated Stein couldn’t have been a pilot; the two owned a jewelry and Oriental rug gallery together. His sister says she thought Stein 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 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.
One nephew said he is sure Stein was a trail guide in Rocky Mountain National Park, and another said his uncle was a consultant for a record chain and ran a group of legal recreational marijuana dispensaries. A niece 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.
Police say the volume of contradictory information will make it nearly impossible to pinpoint Stein’s exact location or status.
Susan Stein was his wife and constant companion for the past 14 years. 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.”
(This is an actual obit published by Mr. Stein’s daughter regarding his death.)