In Memory

Richard Stiefel

October 6, 1949 – November 22, 2021

Richard (Dick) Norman Stiefel passed away Monday, November 22, 2021 at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, December 18th at the Village Shalom Social Hall. All are welcome to share memories of Richard in person or online; contact the family for details.

He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, October 6, 1949 to Ruth and Norman Stiefel, who had emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1939. He is survived by his wife Marsha, daughter Claire, son Jonathan, sister Irene Starr (Norton) and nephews Andrew and Ethan Starr.

Richard graduated from Southwest High School (1967) and Drake University (1971) with a degree in German, Education, and Business. After graduation he lived in New York City for a decade, working at the United Nations and later in publishing.

His publishing career included roles as an associate editor at Kendall Hunt as well as positions at Academic Press, Prentice Hall, and F.A. Davis.

Upon returning to Kansas City in the early 1980s, he worked in the family owned jewelry business. In Kansas City he met Marsha (Finkelstein) Stiefel at a gathering; they married, and they loved and supported each other for nearly four decades.

Ultimately he pioneered the role of stay-at-home parent. He excelled at this then unconventional vocation. Richard not only strongly shaped the lives of his children, but also that of their friends and classmates, who remember him as being interested in and kind to everyone. The game of chess was a lifelong interest of Richard’s. He took Claire to a local chess club, and started a chess club at Briarwood Elementary for Jonathan and his fellow students.

Undoubtedly everyone in Richard’s family is aware of his keen desire to share his knowledge of family history. It was certainly helpful that he had a phenomenal memory for dates, and was unlikely to forget a birthday, anniversary, or other major life event. All those close to him will miss his emails.

His love and devotion to family extended to pet dogs over the years including Lady, Leika, Lutzi, Lacey (and granddog Marco.)

His other interests included collecting stamps, coins, campaign buttons, gardening, and yard work. He was a regular visitor at the local library, and the occasional poker table.

In an understated manner, Richard impacted many lives by listening, smiling, and engaging with his friends and his community.

Donations in Richard’s memory may be made to:

Prostate Network, 2007 W 86 St, Leawood, KS 66206,  


Recognizing his love of senior dogs, Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society, 728 Cherokee St, Leavenworth, KS 66048,  

A Celebration of Life for Richard will be held on December 18, 2021 at 11:00 am

Village Shalom Social Hall

5500 W. 123rd St.

Use North Entrance (access from 122 & Nall or 123 & Woodson)

Overland Park, KS 66209

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12/01/21 12:35 PM #1    

William Tipton

Deeply saddened to hear about Dicky. I remember how we played kick ball at Border Star and Dicky tried so hard and everyone was cheering him on. One day he got on base. Dicky was one of the nicest gentlest human beings I ever had the good fortune to know. 

12/01/21 12:59 PM #2    

Deborah Passman

When we both were at Southwest, Richard lived on the block behind me. When I moved to my current home, I was surprised to find that Richard lived down the street from me.  His daily walks took him by my house, and we often stopped to visit.  We both frequented our neighborhood library, and I often ran into him there.  Richard and I shared a love of dogs, and he was very devoted to his pets and provided them a loving home. He took great interest in his neighbors and loved to chat and catch up on what was happening in their lives.  Everyone on our block knew Richard and his wife, Marsha, and we are deeply saddened by his loss. Richard was a kind, gentle soul with a lively, curious mind and a sharp wit. He was taken from us far too soon. Our neighborhood won’t be the same without him.

12/02/21 11:13 AM #3    

Ed Molotsky

So sorry to hear this news. Great guy.




12/02/21 04:35 PM #4    

Larry Pollard

I'm shocked and saddened about Richard's passing. We last visited in October around his birthday. I will always remember him as such a gentle soul with kindness toward others.

12/02/21 04:54 PM #5    

D. Suzanne "Suzy" Willard (Thurman)

So sorry to hear of Dickey's passing.   From the day at Border Star all through our days at Southwest, he was always kind, a gentle soul and a sweet friend.   The grief of his passing is made easier by the legacy he left behind of wonderful and fun memories.   He will be missed by so many as he was one of the most likable people in our class.

12/02/21 08:56 PM #6    

Lynn McCarty

I guess he’ll always be “Dickie” but that’s only because I remember our times at Border Star so fondly! What a sweet smile, and always a friendly welcome. But I also remember the same kindness from Richard whenever our paths crossed at reunions in recent years. A favorite classmate of mine throughout the years. Condolences to his family. A sad day for sure!

12/03/21 07:40 AM #7    

Marsha Stiefel (Pinson)

I was lucky enough to know Dickie as a boy, my first cousin, and see him grow into a man, a husband, and a father.  We were both the children of parents who fled Germany in the late thirties, and were lucky to be able to start a new life in America, specifically Kansas City.  My dad, Erwin Stiefel, and Richard's mom, Ruth, were siblings; however, Aunt Ruth married a man, no relation, with the same last name, Norman Stiefel.  Our fathers began building a new life and became business partners for many years.  Life for the 4 of them was not easy but it was free and enriched by the other relatives who settled in Kansas City and became the Family.

Richard's sister was born in '39, my sister, in '45 just before the end of WWII, and Dickie and I both were born in 1949. He liked being my much younger cousin.  Our childhoods were intertwined at birthdays and holidays but we did not go to school together until Southwest--a fine experience for both of us.  After Dick went to Drake he worked in other cities before returning to our hometown and settling down with another Marsha.  They married and had 2 wonderful children, Claire and Jonathan.  Richard was a caring son and our family Historian.  He would send birthday wishes with photos of our childhood that were sweet gifts.  For a few years, he worked with my father in the costume jewelry business after his return but ultimately was happier working from home and caring for his family, his garden, and one of his beloved dogs. How lovely that Debby Passman also knew him as a great neighbor.  He quietly lived with cancer for over 20 years before succumbing to it.  Perhaps, Richard lived much of his life quietly but he lived it with kindness and caring and simple purpose.  May he Rest in Peace.  Cousin Marsha

12/03/21 10:51 AM #8    

Ben Wheatley

Oh, Marsha, I am so sorry about the loss of Richard. He was a warm, kind and gentle soul. Our friendship began in grade school and continued through life at Southwest. I remember meeting your Aunt Ruth, his mother, at their house one day after school. She showed me where Nazis had gouged the dining room bureau. I believe she told me it happened during Kristallnacht. I remember being horrified by the violence against the Jewish people...a memory that's stuck with me all these years. I treasure having known Richard and your family. Blessings.

12/04/21 05:48 PM #9    

Gene Greenberg

Like so many of us, I met Dickie at Border Star and we became friends. We were both the small kids in school so when there were class pics, or we were participating in an assembly program, Dickie and I were usually standing next to each other. Our mothers were both immigrants and refugees from the Nazis so we also would get together outside of school. He was a nice guy and a good friend. Dickie contacted me when A Promise To Our Fathers came out. He reminded me of his family's history and was happy that we were telling this story. Rest in Peace, my friend.

12/16/21 12:58 PM #10    

Tuck Milligan

After reading so many beautiful, touching comments, I can only confirm them with my memory of the Richard.  I even think I can remember his first day at Border Star, although, I'm not sure if it was Miss Miller's 1st Grade or Miss O'Rear's 2nd Grade class or even later when Richard Stiefel was introduced and assigned a seat.  I have a memory of the Richard carrying his books and walking down the far aisle to his desk.  It is only fitting that our impressions of Richard was one of gentleness and kindness, for that is what I saw in him, as well, as I watched him take his seat; a huge contrast to the rough and tumble midwestern environment we were growing up in.  But none of that ever bothered Richard.  He never shyed away from jumping right in and loving every minute as Bill Tipton so precisely described that kickball game where Richard finally got on base.  Knowing of his parent's flight from the halocaust, it now makes sense that what I was also witnessing in Richard was an old world, European charm that he possessed in which he graced all of us that knew him. 

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