Stephen "Waz" Leon Nidweski
JULY 2, 1952 – OCTOBER 10, 2018
Stephen "Waz" Leon Nidweski was born on July 2, 1952 and passed away on October 10, 2018.
Stephen ‘Waz” Nidweski, age 66, passed away suddenly from heart complications at his home in Naples, FL, on October 10, 2018.
Born July 2, 1952 in Bensalem Township, Pa. Stephen was a proud graduate of the Bensalem High School’s class of 1970. He often told of his adventures with childhood friends and spending time at the volunteer fire house that was in his neighborhood. It gave him great joy to remain in contact with many lifelong friends and he looked forward to attending their annual trout fishing weekend.
Within a week of turning 18 years old, Stephen made the courageous decision to join the United States Coast Guard in 1970. He often shared stories of the travels he had while stationed on various ships, from seeing the Northern Lights in the Arctic on an icebreaker, to going through the channels of the Panama Canal. The ship that he was most proud to have been stationed on, was the USS Taney. The Taney is currently a floating museum in the Baltimore Inner Harbor. She was the only USCG ship to be in active commission during three separate theaters of conflict. As a history enthusiast, he was very proud of this fact. Although his love of cooking came as a child working alongside his beloved mother in the kitchen, he realized his calling as he settled into his role as a professional potato peeler in the galley onboard ship.
After his honorable discharge in 1974, he made the decision to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he obtained his degree in Applied Science. Upon graduating in 1976, Stephen landed a summer job in the kitchen of the Wychmere Harbor Club in Harwichport, Ma. This was a pivotal move in his career that ultimately lead to over 30 years of being a chef on Cape Cod. Known simply as “Waz” in the kitchen, a force to be reckoned with, he always took the time to teach others his knowledge. He was blessed to collaborate with fellow professionals that he admired and came to call friend. Along with practicing his craft at establishments such as La Grande Rue and Vining’s Bistro, he was a behind the scene guy at the Red Pheasant from time to time for 25 years. Steve went onto the position of Food Service Supervisor at the Nauset Regional Middle School from 2000-2013. Stephen leaves behind deep friendships with many colleagues in the hospitality and food service industry.
“The Grand One’s” posse of friends was never lacking and his home was known to welcome friends and passerby’s alike to join in a card game, listen to some music, or just enjoy a cold beer together. In 1981, Stephen was blessed to have met his pal for life, Kellie Ann Walker, whom he wed on October 19, 1986. They settled into an old sea captains house in South Yarmouth Ma. where they were blessed with their three children. In 2016, they made the decision to move to Florida, where Stephen took over the reigns as the chef of Wahoo’s River Bar and Grille at the Hideaway Marina of Naples. Stephen, Waz, will be missed by many and leaves behind more friends than most can say they had the pleasure of having. He leaves behind to continue his story, his loving wife Kellie Walker Nidweski, his daughters, Victoria Noel Nidweski of Brooklyn NY, Kathryn Rose Gray and her husband Sean of Naples FL, and Alexandra Paige Nidweski of Old Wethersfield CT. Brother Edward John Nidweski and his wife Rosanne of Pocono Lake, PA, and sister Suzanne Miller of Philadephia, PA. Stephen also leaves a very special person in his adult life, his mother in-law, Patricia K Noon of Naples FL. His greatest and proudest joy in life was his grandchildren, whom he played and active and pivotal role in their lives. He leaves behind his grandson Avery Nidweski, of Naples, FL, Rowan Hilditch of Old Wethersfield CT, and Kennedy Gray of Naples, FL. Stephen and Kellie will welcome their granddaughter London Gray at Christmas. He leaves behind a large loving extended family of Nidweski and Fricko cousins, in-laws, nieces and nephews. Stephen is predeceased by his loving parents, Edward John and Madeline Nidweski of Bensalem, Pa.
A celebration of Stephen’s life will be planned for September 2019 on Cape Cod and in Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Stephen’s name to the Pals for Life organization.