Rich Stringer was a visionary man...a poet and songwriter trapped in a lawyer's world. He treasured his family more than anything, and was the proud father of three sons and two daughters. He was a true Southern gentleman and generous to a fault. Raised in Alabama, he exuded southern charm and wit, He was passionate about his Alma Mater - The University of Alabama - and wore the Crimson Tide colors throughout his life.
Rich moved to Sebastian in 1998 to accept a position as the city's first and only City Attorney. He tirelessly represented the city through one of its most prolific growing times and guided the city council in developing and expanding Sebastian. Big city lawyers couldn't intimidate Rich, and he'd often be in court facing a team of high-powered attorneys. He would calmly present himself as a small town country lawyer and then dazzle them with his incredible intelligence and diligent preparation. Inevitably, those big time lawyers would leave the courtroom wondering where they went wrong! He was most proud of his involvement in the expansion of Riverview Park, since he was the driving force behind the docks, the pavilions, the interactive fountain, and Veterans Memorial. He wanted the park to be a place where families gathered and enjoyed the river.
After leaving the government position in 2008, Rich opened his private practice specializing in real estate law. However, he would tackle any legal issue for a friend, often times without compensation. Several guests at his memorial service told stories of how he represented them in exchange for a pie or a lawn service. He practiced law to help others, not to bring home a big pay check.
Rich loved Sebastian and spent a bulk of his free time volunteering and organizing community events. He was a major player in the American Cancer Society and served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club. His biggest legacy is the Sebastian Clambake, which he founded in 2002. The three day event brings families together to celebrate the rich history of the clammers along the Indian River Lagoon. The event proceeds go to local charities – in face, the Sebastian Clambake Foundation has given away more than $500,000 thus far!
Rich loved being on the water, and was happiest captaining a houseboat down the St. John's River with his kids. He made sure he was away from cell phones and communication where he could fish, play his guitar, write songs and play with his children.
Rich left this world way too soon, but he died doing what he loved. He suffered a massive heart attack while recording one of his original songs. His passing was a shock to the community and to the friends and family who never had a chance to say goodbye. Those who knew him personally will be forever enriched by his presence in their lives. He was a loyal friend, a mentor to all, a devoted father and a unique man blessed with brilliance and wit.
Rich, on behalf of the Sebastian Clambake Board of Directors, the Member Organizations, the beneficiary organizations and all the volunteers, we miss you and we are so grateful to have known you.