Benjamin Nicholas Stein, 40
Benjamin Nicholas Stein was born on December 18, 1982 in Harlan, IA. In his early years he loved dressing up as a superhero, coining himself as Benji the Avenger Stein. He spent many years playing baseball for Portsmouth with his brother Nick as a teammate and dad Kenny and uncle Larry as coach. Growing up there were hours spent working on the farm especially with his 4-H livestock projects for the Portsmouth Super Production Club.
In his high school years he was a member of the Portsmouth CYO basketball team and Harlan Community High school football team. He even went blond when his team made it to the “Dome.” In high school Ben found a love of cinematography, spending hours writing, directing, and editing school and personal video projects. Many weekends you could find him playing guitar and singing with his band Denis Wendt and the Ass Kickers. Through the summers he spent time cruising in the shaggin’ wagon and swimming at Aunt Pat’s pool with the cousins.
After graduating, Ben spent several years living and working in Omaha, Nebraska. He found a love for food and grew many skills as a chef at the Marriott Chop House. He also met and married Lindsay; their marriage dissolved 10 years later. Ben moved to Woodbine, IA and worked various jobs. He spent his last years taking care of hogs and working on the family farm.
Throughout this time, he continually fostered an interest in music, passion for food, and love of his family including his pets. One of Ben’s greatest joys was sharing his talents with family to spread smiles and happiness.
Ben made every family gathering memorable, often spending days lovingly preparing delicious food for everyone to enjoy. He drew from early memories in Grandma Tiny’s kitchen, experience as a chef, and his own culinary exploration to craft new recipes. He would often show up to family gatherings with a new recipe he was testing, the smell of seasoned smoke wafting in behind him. When venturing outdoors, Ben would bring the flavor by crafting a hearty hobo stew over the campfire. In addition to cooking for his family and friends, Ben readily shared his love of music, whether a song he had written or strumming his guitar as accompaniment to a family sing-a-long. Ben introduced the family to several board games, resulting in lively competition and fondly remembered late nights. Ben certainly had a competitive side. On game day, you could find Ben cheering on the Oregon Ducks, Iowa State Cyclones, and Kansas City Chiefs. He enjoyed the annual Stein Bowling Tournament and participated in the local bowling league. Ben recently started a collection of Nerf toys, enlisting all his nieces and nephews in “battle.” The ensuing yelling and laughter was a telltale sign of a good time bringing the family together over flying foam.
Ben struggled with many challenges throughout his life but we will always remember him as a loving son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend. Ben left us on August 21st 2023 at only forty years old but his legacy continues on. We will cherish the time we had with him. Those carrying on in his memory include his parents, Ken and Julie Stein, brothers Nick (Miranda) and Lincoln (Michelle), sister Becca (Michael), nephews Daxton, Kase, and Brock, nieces Charlotte and Eleanor, many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
A 10:30 AM Mass of Christian Burial was officated by Rev. Michael Antoh at St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Portsmouth, Iowa on Friday, September 1, 2023. A burial will be held at a later date at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Portsmouth, Iowa.
Pauley Jones Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.