Richard Stamz was known in Chicago as “Open The Door Richard” and held the title of being the oldest man in radio until his death on Tuesday, June 12, 2007. Stamz was one of the pioneers of radio in the black community. He began his career at WGES in Chicago and worked with the legendary Al Benson. Stamz was the second African-American DJ in Chicago, following Jack L. Cooper.
Recently, Richard Stamz celebrated his 101st birthday at a big party thrown by legendary blues DJ and owner of WVON Radio, Pervis Spann. Friends like Herb Kent, Lucky Cordell and Richard Steele were in attendance.
One of his daughters, Phyllis White-Willis, noted how blessed the family feels to have had their father for so many years. “It was comforting,” she said, “to have old and new friends remember his contribution to the African-American music industry. My father loved fishing, music, people and living life to its fullest.”
The photo, taken in October 2005, shows Stamz when he was 99 years old, attending the United Progress Center’s banquet, founded by another Chicago stalwart, Webb Evans, president and founder of the organization.
A memorial service was held on Wednesday, June 20, at Fernwood United Methodist Church (10057 S. Wallace) where Rev. Al Sampson is the pastor.
Richard Stamz is survived by four daughters, Phyllis White-Willis, Harriett Hoskins, Valerea Hankins and Yvette White; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.