Tony Stempeck, Guardian of a Restaurant’s Legacy, Dies at 63

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Around a decade ago, Mr. Stempeck devised a way to determine what exactly went into the dishes.

“I went down to the restaurant, weighed every canister of spice in the kitchen, she made the sauce, I reweighed the canisters, and then we knew,” he told The Reno Gazette Journal.

For the first time, the Casale’s family had wr itten recipes.

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“We’ve been raised to take the restaurant over,” Mr. Stempeck added. “It’s a part of keeping Old Reno alive.”

Anthony Patrick Stempeck was born on March 2, 1957, in Reno. His mother and his father, Casimir Stempeck — known by his Navy nickname, Steamboat — ran Casale’s, which Ms. Stempeck’s maternal grandparents had founded as a grocery store in 1937. Tony grew up in a house out back, so close that he could leap from his front door into the back door of the restaurant. He graduated from Sparks High School in 1975.

One night while working at Casale’s he took the purse of Janet D’Amico, a customer, and hid it behind the bar to keep her around. They had a whirlwind courtship, married in 1990 and divorced in 2003. Ms. D’Amico died in 2007.

In addition to his daughter Haley, Mr. Stempeck is survived by another daughter, Cierra Marin; two brothers, Charlie and John Stempeck; three sisters, Madaline Zanoni, Maria Rogers and Helen Jayme; and his partner, Lynne Clark.

A devoted father, Mr. Stempeck ordered wood chips and top soil for the construction of a playground at his daughters’ elementary school. He volunteered in the school’s front office, as a crossing guard, at bake sales, at spaghetti buffet fund-raisers. Casale’s regulars, accustomed to the Tony who poured shots of Jägermeister, found it hard to believe, but for two years running he was parent of the year.

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After the death of Mr. Stempeck’s mother, Ms. Kramer ordered business cards for him inscribed with her old title: owner-operator.

They arrived the day Mr. Stempeck died.



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