Obituary of Kevin David Stillwell, Jr.
Kevin David Stillwell, Jr., who everyone knew as “David,” (or sometimes “Kevin”, or “Daveed”) lived his life to the fullest in his 40 too-short years on earth. He died on January 17, 2022, of a cardiac event while shoveling snow in Searsport, Maine, where he was helping other people like he always did. David was born on October 23, 1981 in Geneva, Ohio and followed a lifelong career in food service. He graduated from the culinary arts program at Stow-Munroe Falls High School in 2000 and attended the culinary school at Hocking College. He was highly creative and passionate about food, cooking and baking and was a notable Maine oyster shucker and a passionate, year-round organic gardener. He treated every vegetable plant he grew as his own child, and the results were the best hot peppers and tomatoes anyone grew. Everybody loved his pumpkin rolls, deep fried “balls” at Michele’s in Kent and his pierogis that he cooked up working at Searsport Shores campground. David had a true “spice for life.” David was deeply loved by his mother Nancy and stepfather Richard. From childhood through his final day, they made sure that he was loved and supported in school, in his profession, and in the community. They made sure that he had the tools to succeed in life as he took those tools and ran with them. Nancy and David were as close as could be, and even when he moved to Maine, they communicated almost every day in the family chat room and by remote weekend cups of coffee. His kitchen skills and recipe creativity started at a young age, watching his stepfather experiment with the spices of the world while cooking family meals. He was proud of his Scotch-Irish heritage—to the point that his signature family dish was corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick’s Day. When David was growing up, he always looked forward to spending time with his dad, whether they were working on his dad’s antique cars, riding in the Grape Jamboree Parade in the 1955 Chevy, or going to car shows. He spent a lot of time bowling with his father. He really looked forward to the Father’s Day show at Stan Hywett Hall in Akron. He also loved the many trips to Florida for vacation where he got to swim in the ocean for the first time, watch dirt track racing, and end every vacation at the Daytona 500. He was always happy no matter what they were doing together. David loved spending time at Geneva-on-the-Lake with his dad and family, especially on the 4th of July where he took great joy in sharing his sparklers, poppers, and mini fireworks. He had the best 40th birthday when his dad and Stacy travelled up to Maine to see him and go to his birthday party with all his Maine friends. He loved spending time with his grandparents and listening to their words of wisdom. He would spend New Year’s Eve with his grandma and grandpa Smallwood playing Monopoly. In the summer he loved spending time at his grandma and grandpa Stillwell’s pool swimming with his cousins. David was particularly close with his brother Elliot, sisters Rachel and Rebecca, and nieces Makyla and Hazel. They were all as tight and loving a family as could be. The family had a private chat room where they talked with each other continuously. David loved being a big brother and uncle and hanging out with his siblings, bowling, playing cards and video games, and going to concerts together. Family vacations included New York City, Washington, D.C., Toronto, all over New England, and Las Vegas with his Uncle Danny. He also got to visit Morocco and Spain with his friend Angie Stemp where he enjoyed riding camels and four-wheeling in the Sahara Desert just before he left us. He wound up in Maine after running a kitchen in a small bar in Kent when his brother Elliot called him up to Maine to help open the Ondine restaurant in Belfast. There, he worked with Elliot and Chef Evan Mallet to develop a white tablecloth, gourmet restaurant in the city. After Ondine closed, he was offered a kitchen position in the new gourmet Hitchborn restaurant in Stockton Springs working for Kirk Linder and Charlie Zorich, where he was the “Swiss Army knife” in the kitchen—an indispensable part of the team. He was growing by leaps and bounds as both a high-level kitchen professional and human being when tragedy struck. Known by Mainers as “Daveed,” David could walk into a room of strangers and when he walked out, he knew everyone in the room, and they all knew and loved him as the guy with the ponytail who ride his bicycle through every kind of weather from Belfast to Searsport to Stockton Springs and all over the area. “Daveed” created a wide community of friends in the four years he lived in Maine, after doing the same thing in Ohio. When you were a friend of David’s you were friends for life. David was selfless, put others first, and would do everything he could to help everyone. David’s work ethic was unparalleled. Every place he worked heralded his willingness, creativity and perseverance to always go above and beyond in time and effort. His work ethic was matched only by his kindness to everyone, good humor, and zest for life. Always environmentally conscious, he loved the outdoors, especially since moving to Maine, and spent as much time as he could hiking, camping, kayaking in the ocean, clamming, and putting many miles a week on his bicycle. He was also passionate about music, attending every show he could with a wide variety of musical taste and playing his digeridoo around the campfire. David loved playing pool as a member of the Belfast’s notorious Pooligans. The family would like to thank all of the first responders who worked so hard and tried so valiantly to save his life on the sidewalk when he collapsed in the snow. These include Captain Howard Wells, who came to David’s aid first, Belfast Fire Chief Patrick Richards, and all of the Searsport EMS/ Fire and police who were on the scene. We also thank Kirk, Charlie and Angie, who stayed on the scene until the end, and Amy and the rest of the true professionals at Riposta Funeral Home of Belfast, Maine. David is survived by his mother, Rosalie Nancy Weiner (Richard L. Weiner) of Kent, Ohio; by his father, Kevin David Stillwell, Sr. (Stacy Joslin) of Conneaut, Ohio; grandmothers Beth Stillwell of Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, and Evelyn Smallwood of Englewood, Ohio, siblings Rachel Weiner of Kent, Ohio and her children Makyla and Hazel, Elliot Weiner Plymouth, N.H., and Rebecca Weiner of Kent, Ohio. He is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins and hundreds of friends in Ohio, Maine, and all over the world who all loved him dearly. He was predeceased by grandfathers Elbert (Pete) Smallwood and Carl Stillwell. The family will be starting a scholarship at Stow High School for culinary students to attend culinary school after graduation. All contributions to this fund, which will be administered by the school, are greatly appreciated by the family and future recipients. To contribute, please go to this link: http://stowschoolsfoundation.org/donations/donate/, and navigate to the Kevin David Stillwell, Jr. Memorial Culinary Scholarship. Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 1836, Stow, OH 44224. Please put the name of the scholarship in the memo line. Thank you. Following his wishes, David’s body was biocremated. His remains will be distributed to the family and will be included in a Viking funeral ceremony in Maine in the future. There will be a Celebration of David’s Life on March 5th in Harpersfield, Ohio starting at 1 PM at the Harpersfield Community Center, 5604 Cork Cold Springs Rd., Geneva. All are welcome.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Kevin Stillwell, Jr., please visit our Tree Store
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