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Honoring StephenB


Escoffier
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It's with a great deal of sorrow that I have to announce that StephenB (Stephen Banker) died today at home. Stephen who took a great deal of (well-deserved) pride in his deviled eggs with caviar that were a mainstay at the DonRockwell picnics. Stephen who had been more places, done more things, met more notable people and didn't mind telling you about their fads and foibles will no longer be here to entertain and amuse us. I've lost a dear friend, a great companion and a wonderful sparkling wit. The world is now a bit more dreary. Rest in peace, Stephen, you were a man among men.

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This is unbelievably sad news. I spent a fair amount of time last night reading through some of Stephen's old posts, including his final one, written just a few days ago, in which he mentions four dishes that he's "set to have the next time around." Let's honor Stephen by remembering that, for all of us, there will be one point when there IS no "next time around." He lived life to the fullest; we owe him no less than to do the same.

The website will observe an hour of silence at 12 noon today in honor of our fallen comrade.

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What can you say about Stephen Banker?

That he was bright. And brilliant. That he loved Music and Poetry. And foods. And women.

The last thing I did for him was delivering Soon-doo-boo (Korean Spicy Tofu stew) and a half gallon of orange juice.

He sent me a note below:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: SBANKER@aol.com [mailto:SBANKER@aol.com]

Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 2:34 PM

To: Choi, Yoon-Hee

Subject: tofu

DL,

Thank you so much for the tofu stew. It is the tastiest thing I've had in a week (when I started feeling sick).

I am resting today and trying to regain strength.

MrB

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wish I could have done more for him but he didn't wait for me.

Bye, Stephen. My Mr. Banker.

DL

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I met Stephen at the first dr.com event I attended, a $20 dinner at one of Peter Chang's old stomping grounds. Stephen"s

ability to talk about music, art, politics, books, food, religion, fashion, and Keith Olbermann is unparalleled. I am so glad to have

had the chance to get to know and spend time with him. He will be missed.

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This is very sad news. I noticed StephenB's (and his deviled eggs) absence at the picnic on Sunday. I enjoyed sharing conversations and meals with him over the last several years and will truly miss not being able to do so in the future.

Godspeed, my friend.

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This is very sad news. I noticed StephenB's (and his deviled eggs) absence at the picnic on Sunday. I enjoyed sharing conversations and meals with him over the last several years and will truly miss not being able to do so in the future.

Godspeed, my friend.

It's strange thinking about it now, but I was surprised at the fall picnic when he didn't bring his eggs. He brought clams on the half shell with a mignonette and another sauce or two. So, the food he was most associated with he did not bring to his last picnic.

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I only met him once, and remember how cool it was that, thanks to him, I am now two degrees from John Lennon. Definitely a unique individual with a uniquely storied life.

His last post really makes you think. For example, it makes ME think that BBQ roast pork would really hit the spot right about now. He would have wanted it that way.

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I had the pleasure of meeting StephenB at past picnics, & I'm terribly sorry to hear of his passing. It's funny how people that we know 'virtually', mostly from online postings, can become as close as friends & family that we see infrequently. I belong to a couple of other online groups, that have each lost members recently, that I've known only through their posts, & I mourn for them, as I would for any of my other friends. I'm grateful that I had a few chances to talk w/ Stephen, he was quite a gentleman...I will be thinking of him this Memorial Day weekend...

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So sad to hear this. I'm not sure when I first met StephenB, I think at one of the $20 dinners. I do know that as a new person at the DR events, StephenB always greeted me with kindness, always talked to me; he was the person who embodied the kind, open spirit of DR.com and the DR events.

In fact, I was lamenting the fact that, at this last picnic, he wasn't there to share some conversation and a juice box with me. I think we had done that for three, four picnics in a row, and it was one reason I brought some juice boxes this time around.

I'm going to miss him.

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I met Stephen in the fall of 1984.

We were part of the Capitol Area Victor Users Group (CAVUG). I had a Victor 9000 and he had an Apricot (a much more elegant version of the Victor).

We often laughed at our attraction to "beautiful losers" (we were talking about computer hardware, not folks like you find here!).

I moved out of DC in 1988, but stayed in touch with Stephen over the years. He introduced me to Skype and we spent many hours in conversation.

Stephen was a window on another world for me. What a man!

In 2002, Stephen organized The Oyster Foundation. I've started a tribute page for him on the site. It was a remarkable group because of our remarkable friend.

I want to thank all the Rockwellians for the joy that they brought to Stephen in his last years. He talked about the site often and would sent me links to threads that interested him. We ate at Ray's the Steaks in January on the day after his birthday--the last of several great meals that we enjoyed together.

Stephen died in his favorite armchair, from which he would surf the web and watch TV. He was found in his night clothes with the TV off. I imagine that he was looking for a comfortable spot to doze--he had a lot of pain these last five months or so.

I never got to taste his deviled eggs, but I heard all about them. Stephen knew that they were a big hit and loved to talk about how much people enjoyed them.

I had no other friend like Stephen. I will miss him. I'm not sad for Stephen; his pain is over and he probably died peacefully. I grieve for myself, for his family, and for his friends.

Thanks, everyone, for all your kind words about him.

I hope to be at Dino on Monday night, but that depends on the family's plans. If I get there, you'll recognize me. In our last conversation, Stephen said in his inimitable fashion, "Marty Moleski, you are a big fat priest." Stephen was good to me and good for me. Rest in peace, old friend.

Marty

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I met Stephen at the fall picnic. He had seen me mention on the site that I was a Harvard grad and engaged me in a conversation about literature (the concentration at the school as well as the subject in general) and lots of other Harvardiana. Sure, many things had changed up in Cambridge between his tenure and mine, but we both enjoyed trading stories about Crimson life. After the New Yorker piece came out, he sent me some PMs about some fairly funny exchanges he'd had with Calvin Trillin -- not about the subject of the piece, but about the ongoing Yale/Harvard faux-animosity banter that still existed between good old friends.

As I drove past campus yesterday after a truly, truly horrendous workday and a seemingly endless solo roadtrip to Boston, I thought idly of Stephen, wondering if he'd be in attendance for reunion weekend (Google had led me to believe we shared a reunion year, since Harvard celebrates all the fives). It wasn't until after I'd settled in at my friend's house and booted up the computer that I read of his passing. I thought of the ways the world crafts these little coincidences for us, that someone or something from memory should leap to mind after lying fallow for a while. I was looking forward to sharing reunion experiences with him the next time we met.

For those who knew him far better than I, I raise a glass and hope that you will celebrate a life well lived.

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