In Memoriam

In November, many in the camp family traveled to St. Paul for Nardie Stein’s memorial service at Mount Zion Temple. And many more read his obituary (find it here) and watched the livestream of the memorial, which can be viewed in its entirety below:

Here are some excerpted family memories from a celebration of a truly impactful life:

Daughter Jessie Stein Diamond: “I picture him at the wheel of our humongous1970s Aero station wagon with a compass affixed to the windshield – our pre-Internet GPS… For me, that compass evokes so much about Nardie. He had a great sense of direction, literally and metaphorically, and a strong moral compass, a great sense of fun, a true zest for adventure… Nardie devoted his career to giving children the kind of play, adventure and friendship that make childhood joyous and to transmitting values to help people become their best selves… Dad was very lucky. He was married to the love of his life for 67 years. His career gave his life meaning, purpose, and lifelong friends. He never took any of that for granted.”

Son Ted Stein: “I’ll remember him most not as a lucky man, but as an extraordinarily good one… Dad intuitively wanted to do the right thing, and he frequently did it even if no one was watching. He never missed the right moment to visit friends or relatives, no matter how far flung or how late in the day… Nardie epitomized the saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life… I couldn’t have asked for a better father. He was as good as it gets.”

Daughter Jane Stein Kerr: “Dad had a gift for seeing strength and talents in people they often didn’t recognize in themselves. Many camp alumni have told us of Nardie’s and Sally’s life-changing impact on them… For some of you, it was a lesson gently administered when you were a child. For others, it was working with and for them… Dad loved learning about your successes and accomplishments. What you were doing in the world fascinated Dad. He was infinitely proud of the people you have become.”

Granddaughter Daisy Diamond: “Nardie had a knack for connecting with people of all ages. He was an adult who could truly interact with children in a genuine way, making you feel like equals and always eager to join in the fun.”

Granddaughter Sarah Kerr: “He showed us the importance of volunteering, staying engaged in current events, standing up for what is right, welcoming people to this country and our lives and always continuing to learn new things.”

Granddaughter Elena Stein: “He approached life with so much curiosity, unpretentiousness, an appreciation for differences and an inner compass that always pointed in the direction of doing good… We often felt like we shared our grandfather with the many camp folks who loved him, but that was okay. Nardie showed us that love and care for others is an ever-expanding renewable resource.”

And, of course, his children and grandchildren couldn’t discuss Nardie without touching on his sense of humor:

Ted: “Dad was pragmatic and humble. If he saw a problem, he found a solution. If the solution was simple or funny, all the better. Why call a plumber when he could fix a temperamental toilet with a Dymo sticker that said PJHTY, reminding us all to Please Jiggle Handle, Thank You… Dad’s humor was often unexpected, and it was never mean. He was frequently the butt of his own joke. He wore socks and sandals not only for his own comfort, but also for the kids and counselors who liked to joke about it.

Jessie: “Dad typically carried a pocketknife and a tape measure in his pants pocket, a pad of paper in his shirt pocket, a Batman credit card in his wallet… (And regarding his adoration of Sally), “Once, during a vacation in Italy after they retired, Dad found a great hotel by asking a garage mechanic, ‘If you were traveling with a young Sophia Loren, where would you stay?’”

Jane: “(In his last months) Nardie’s sense of humor remained intact. His caregivers loved his witty responses to their frequent questions. When the nurse who accompanied him from Duluth to Minneapolis introduced herself, she said, ‘Hi, Nardie. I’m Heidi. He replied with a boyish smile, ‘Hi, Heidi. I’m Seeky!”

Elena: “With Nardie, the world was a place filled with friends you just hadn’t met yet. Intimidating strangers would be reduced to giggles with Nardie’s challenge of an armwrestling match.”