Beloved spice seller Colonel De dies at 71

Beloved spice seller Colonel De dies at 71
"Colonel" De passed away Thursday at the age of 71. (Photo: Provided)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Tri-State’s beloved spice seller, “Colonel” De, has died.

He was 71.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that The “Colonel” De Stewart, Founder of Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices, passed away of an apparent heart attack in his home in Fort Thomas, KY early this morning,” Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices announced in a statement.

"The entire Colonel De family mourns this loss. On behalf of Colonels employees and dear friends, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Colonel was a larger-than-life figure who brought his remarkable passion, experience and energy to EVERYTHING he touched.”

A celebration of life will be held 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at “The Mess Hall” at Tower Park, 900 Ft.Thomas Ave., Fort Thomas.

Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in his honor.

He was in the process of receiving chemotherapy for multiple myeloma when he suffered a fatal heart attack, his company announced Friday.

It all started with a cooking segment on a local Northern Kentucky cable show in 2003.

Colonel De, then known as “the Businessman Chef," wanted to show how spices and herbs could change the flavor of common foods.

Initially, he and his wife, Susan, began selling custom blends at local farmers’ markets with just two card tables and 15 products.

Now, 13 years and hundreds of blends, sauces and gourmet spices later, Colonel De has become the leading spice purveyor in town.

Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices has stores in Historic Findlay Market, Jungle Jim’s at Eastgate, and now their world headquarters, teaching and production kitchen located in Fort Thomas.

In July 2017, Colonel De expanded his brand with Colonel’s Gourmet Events.

Then in May, he opened his first farm-to-table restaurant, appropriately named Colonel’s Kitchen.

“He is truly a Kentucky Colonel and will be dearly missed,” the company statement reads.

Colonel De’s joy was all about family and spending time with his son, Ashley, daughter-in-law Christi, and beloved grandchildren.

“We have suffered a major loss,” said his wife and co-founder, Susan Stewart. "Our family, friends and customers will have a huge void because De was larger-than-life.”

The couple also spent many countless hours on their patio drinking bourbon with their rescue dog, Cinnamon.

They moved to their home on Grand Avenue in Fort Thomas in 2007 and absolutely love their community, the statement reads.

Colonel De was born on July 22, 1947, in Louisville, KY, to the late Kenneth and LaVada Stewart.

He was proclaimed an official Kentucky Colonel in 1999 and was very proud of his Kentucky heritage.

His family is committed to continuing the legacy of the Colonel and the Colonel brands.

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