Obituaries

Keith Stefanczyk

May 27, 1960 - October 22, 2022

Posted by:
Jay London

Posted on:
January 11, 2023

Keith was unique. He lived life on his own terms, without filters. You never had to say, “Keith who?” (Perhaps they should retire the name, as they do with athletic jerseys.) You never needed to ask for his opinion on something. He was funny, intelligent, brazen, confrontational, outspoken, cared about the people in his life and the world we live in. And we loved him for all these things that made him Keith. We miss him.

Posted by:
Julieta Desrosiers

Posted on:
January 8, 2023

Whenever we went over to Keith's house, you knew we were going to be learning something new, argue a little and laughing a lot. He was not only our friend or neighbor, but he was like family to us. Keith taught our son how to spit. 🙂 He took our daughter first baby pictures when she was in the NICU. He made me a celebrity by adding my son's and myself photo in the Water Report for the City of Chandler. I look forward to meeting again someday and continuing our laughing and learning something new. Rest in peace friend.

Posted by:
Dorice Exline

Posted on:
January 7, 2023

Keith...There are so many words and still no words. Remarkable in so many ways, as so many have eloquently shared and every thought sparks another memory and smile. Keith always made my head spin, which now swirls with so much that I don't know where to start. How to put 42 years, more than 15,000 days intertwined with Keith, into words? Keith, you are still part of every day, my friend forever, who continues to live through everyone you became part of. Yes, it is still "snow."

Posted by:
Beth Tomkiw

Posted on:
January 6, 2023

Keith will always be one of the most intelligent, curious, creative, and funny people I've had the pleasure to know. We met through my husband, John, and quickly bonded over a shared sense of snark; a love of pop culture, politics, and the arts; and an appetite for good food and drink. Lots of drink at times. I cherish the weekends we had in Wisconsin, hanging out in the apartment above his mom's liquor store, dancing like fools at a nearby club, and sitting in the tiny downstairs kitchen frequently hung over. I can still picture (and crack up over) a group photo of all the guys shirtless, taken on one of our nights of particularly extreme indulgence. Keith will always be a friend who felt more like family, even though we didn't have as much time together in his later years. He was the best man at our wedding and our daughter's godfather. His convictions inspired and helped embolden me as I evolved from the daughter of conservative religious parents to independent thinker and believer. Remembering Keith's unique perspectives, humor, and signature laughter will always make me smile. I missed him when we moved back to the Midwest. And it's so sad knowing he is no longer alive on Earth sharing his opinions. Still, Keith left an unforgettable mark on many of us. I am grateful to have had him, and his family and friends in my life.

Posted by:
John Tomkiw

Posted on:
January 4, 2023

I first met Keith when we worked together at our college paper; we became co-editors of the DePaulia features section and spent many a late-night editing copy, doing layouts and, on some occasions, waiting in the wee hours on Thursdays as the next edition was being printed. That meant a lot of downtime. A lot of time to talk. Keith always, always peppered me with direct questions and we bonded over our fraught relationships with our fathers, our love of art and photography, and our hopes for the future. It was quintessential Keith: probing and relentless in his inquisitiveness. Passionate. Wildly creative. Optimistic. We became fast friends, and we’d hang out in his apartment above his father’s insurance agency, mindful of whether his pet python had escaped its cage when we entered the place. Once the snake was found in the bathtub, once wrapped around the curtain rod and, finally, sadly, discovered stiff as a log when it escaped the building in the dead of sub-zero winter. His choice of a pet was also quintessentially Keith: unconventional, unusual, exotic, left of center and just a little bit on the dangerous side. Flashforward to us barreling down Lower Wacker Drive in his Honda after turning in an assignment for a Chicago Reader feature piece (me words, him photos), with Keith’s aim to crash his then-girlfriend’s journalism retreat, hours away from Chicago. Again, quintessentially Keith: mischievous (that giggle of his!), spontaneous and filled with fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants enthusiasm and verve. Flashforward again: he gives the Best Man toast at my wedding. It is, again, quintessential Keith: hysterical, heartfelt, insightful, bawdy and deeply, deeply caring. I return the favor, albeit much less profoundly, at his reception. Later, he acts as godfather to my daughter, and we both laugh at the notion of him being in church—he being fiercely atheist, he comically checks his sport coat for signs of flames. He was a true friend. A kind and gentle soul. Someone who challenged you to be more, to do more, to question, to think differently and seize life. There’s a phrase that’s often overused…but it applies wholeheartedly to Keith: He was one-of-a-kind. I miss him.

Posted by:
Kurt & Carrie Singer

Posted on:
January 3, 2023

In the 60 plus years of Keith's life, Carrie and I knew him what might have been just minutes. Though certainly it was longer, the times we were together were chaotic enough, that clocks just couldn't keep up. We knew Keith as one-half of the most lively and entertaining couple, that a person could be fortunate to know. One-quarter of a quartet of friends, who's gatherings and dinners I'll take to my grave, as some of the best times of my life. Keith was fun-loving, loud, articulate, and a good listener. He loved a good bottle of wine, a great meal, and an engaging conversation. He could be heard above the din, or listen quietly as someone else recounted their own stories. He was, remarkably, proof that a marriage need not end in divorce... but rather evolve into a continuing friendship. Keith was lots of things to be admired. We will miss him.

Posted by:
Nancy T

Posted on:
January 2, 2023

I met Keith in the late 80s through Dorice. Dorice was a client of mine, fast becoming a friend. Keith an old friend, soon to be her husband. I can honestly say that I never met ANYONE who had a wolf as a pet until I met Keith. I remember going into the backyard in Evergreen Park, Illinois to meet Blue, Keith’s wolf. That was trippy. To Keith, that was normal. I was at Keith and Dorice’s wedding, a musical extravaganza. I never heard music playing in their house but I did hear plenty at their celebration. It was a fun and interesting event. The first time Keith came to me for a treatment he ended the session by saying, “You’re smarter than you seem.” I was a bit perplexed but somehow not offended. I quickly learned that this was Keith… stating the facts the way he saw them. In 1993, I met up with Keith and Dorice in Chandler, AZ, their new home. Keith quizzed me on why I was living in Las Vegas and I had few answers. I asked about their move to Chandler and he told me about his new Tae Kwon Do gig. He was thrilled. Dorice in the heat of the desert, not so much. Keith used his graphic design skills to create a business card for me, one that is still in print today. From a dream, I described hands and waves, he said, “No, that’s too much.” He took the Yin-Yang symbol and formed a wave. To this day it reminds me of Keith; he sure knew how to create. Keith and I shared the struggle of getting our talents out into the world. We spoke frequently about what we’d like to share, and how we’d like to make a difference. We challenged each other. One time Keith, Dorice, myself, and my partner Beth were sitting around. Keith said, “We are doing a disservice to the world by not having kids. We are four intelligent people and there are idiots out there creating life.” We all laughed. My last time with Keith was at a Cubs Spring training game with Dorice’s family. He was there to socialize. It was good to see him and hear Keith-isms. He always had something to say. With Monica, Keith seemed to switch his creative talents from the computer to the kitchen. I heard many stories of what they were developing with wild game and all edibles. When Keith went through his heart surgery I was on the thread, receiving updates. I felt the love that Keith had in his life. There were so many people supporting him. It helped me to see how profoundly he touched the world, and how Keith and his comments lived in others. It’s a shame Keith left this planet so soon. He surely added flavor to my world and I’m sorry for his loss. I hope that all who knew him will continue to tell Keith stories. Let’s face it, there are plenty. Keith S… a man with a wolf who created a world from all walks of life. A guy who said it as he saw it… whether you liked it or not… somehow he always made it feel ok. WTF Keith… a man With The Friends. Be well…. Nancy T

Posted by:
Chris Paul

Posted on:
December 31, 2022

May you rest in eternal peace Keith. I’ll never forget the days in TKD, how hard we all worked together! It was a joy knowing you…

Posted by:
Vince Kellen

Posted on:
December 31, 2022

He was an intellectual lion, a gifted artist, an irreverent thinker, and most importantly, he cared for those around him. He was half my soul and our two spirits intertwined and along the journey, we merged and switched conceptual spaces a few times. I cannot count and scarcely remember all the deep discussions, boisterous laughing, petty fights we had from our boyhood onward as we pursued separate but intertwined psychic lives. We didn’t need to speak too much because we knew too well what the other was thinking and feeling. I have dreaded this day and wished to be 20 years from now and even better, after me, but as the universe has decreed, your passing is our great loss. We grieve and as you would want it, we move on. Life is for the living. Good bye my friend.

Posted by:
Cathi Vella Dunn

Posted on:
December 31, 2022

What a lovely remembrance of Keith. Keith was such a quick wit! I enjoyed Keith when we were all able to get together and just hang out and chat. He was hilarious! I very much also enjoyed his meme game 😉 Keith always reminded me of my father. If you knew my father…this is high praise! The world has lost a bright, kind, loving, talented & hilarious soul! Hugs Monica!

Posted by:
Tom and Janni

Posted on:
December 31, 2022

Our time to have Keith as our neighbor was cut short. We all would have enjoyed the chance to know better this creative and funny guy. We will try to take care of Monica and the poodles for you, Keith, up here in the Pacific Northwest.

Posted by:
Barry Weisberg

Posted on:
December 30, 2022

Rest on peace old friend. I remember everything starting with when we first met 45 years ago. More recently, I miss your "typical Keith comments" to me on Facebook. Still feeling sad, but thank you for the times we had.

Posted by:
John Avedisian

Posted on:
December 30, 2022

A true gentleman. I am honored to have had him as a friend. He will certainly be missed.