On October 3, 2019, Conrad Rechsteiner, III, died as he had lived, as part of a Wilmington community—in this case, the assisted living community of the Lorelton, which had been his home for the past eight years.
Conrad was born in Wilmington on October 4, 1921, to Marie (Laird) and Conrad Rechsteiner, Jr. He remained close to his parents and to his only sibling, Marie, throughout their lives. Many of his high school classmates at P.S. Dupont were his life-long friends—he helped to organize the class’s 50th reunion.
Conrad served in the Army during World War II. He earned a degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Back in Wilmington, he worked as an accountant and a commercial realtor and found ways to give back to the city. He served on the board of the Wilmington Music School. For over 50 years, he was a season ticket holder at the Playhouse (Delaware Theatre Company), where he enjoyed attending shows into his nineties.
He was a member of a Masonic Lodge for over 65 years, a volunteer at the Hagley Museum and Library, and an active member of St. Joseph-on-the-Brandywine Church.
In the course of his long life in Wilmington, Conrad witnessed incredible changes to the city, including the growth of the suburbs; but he continued to favor locally-owned businesses in the downtown area. Even in his final years, his favorite outings were to Walters, on North Union Street, for a steak, or to Gavotos Chocolates for buying Christmas gifts.
As the city morphed, so did Conrad. A bachelor to the age of 65, he married Marion Kallfelz, a widow with three daughters, in 1986, and made a life with her in Brandywine Hills. Always the first to be out on the dance floor at the DuPont Country Club, they cut a dashing figure, she in her stylish clothes and signature hat, he in his dapper suit and colorful tie. During Marion’s illness with Alzheimer’s, Conrad was a steadfast companion.
"If you're ever in a jam, here I am" is a line that Conrad loved to sing from “Friendship," one of his favorite 1940s tunes—fittingly, as that could have been the theme of Conrad's life. Always generous with his time and attention, Conrad will long be remembered for his gregariousness, his loyalty to his friends and family, his wealth of local knowledge, and his humorous sayings. He was fond of remarking that he wanted to live as long as Methuselah (969 years). As it was, he died one day short of his 98th birthday.
Predeceased by his parents, sister Marie, wife Marion, and nephew Robert, he will be sorely missed by nephew Laird (Patty) and nieces Patti Clavier (Scott) and Nina Carden (children Tracey Muller and J.R. Carden, grandchildren Kylie and Justin Muller); by stepdaughters Mary-Lea Awanohara, Barbara Bowns, and AZ Jenkins (Mike); by step-grandchildren Greta, Sophia and Leo Jenkins, Lea Canipe, and Xena Parsons; by step-nieces Beth Wyckoff (Jeff) and Meg Bozzone (Michael Smigie, and children Kate and Claire); and by his many friends at the Lorelton. Graveside burial service is at St. Joseph-on-the-Brandywine, 10 Old Church Road, Greenville, DE, at 11:30 a.m on Saturday, October 12th, followed by a reception at the home of Tracy Muller and Nina Carden.