At Linda Stein’s Funeral, Recalling a ‘Chic and Fabulous’ Anti-Grandma

Linda Stein, the quintessential star real estate broker, would have been elated to see her overfilled service today at Riverside Memorial on West 76th Street.

“She’s up there with The Ramones, reveling in the publicity,” eulogized Danny Fields, who co-managed that glorious punk band with Stein in the ‘70’s. Mr. Fields arrived late with Joey Ramone’s brother Mickey Leigh, and wasn’t let into the overfilled service until just before his speech.

Mr. Leigh listened to the eulogies in the cold through overhead speakers outside the chapel. He smoked a Parliament while reporters held up their microphones to the sound system.

“I love you, Nona,” her 3-year-old granddaughter Dora said during the service. (“Linda would never be a ‘Grandma,’” her son-in-law said, explaining the ‘Nona’ nickname.) Then came Seymour Stein, the gargantuan Sire Records music mogul behind The Ramones and Talking Heads. He remembered his ex-wife in her pre-music, pre-real estate days as a single Bronx schoolteacher: “She asked the students if they had any nice older brothers or uncles.”

The mourners had their first big laugh, but Mr. Stein wept.

It was odd to hear a powerhouse entertainment executive show so much sorrow. “In error, or perhaps just numb, I dialed her cell at least five times yesterday,” he said.

Stein’s daughter Samantha said she was “chic and fabulous.” Samantha’s sister Mandy and a friend found Stein in her apartment on Tuesday, bludgeoned to death. The two daughters wanted to see their mother before her burial: “It took them three hours to get her ready–it usually takes one.”

Cameramen and reporters scrambled when the service let out; Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner shuffled over to the hearse, unshaven and morose; a blonde, tight-faced woman nearby muttered that she had wanted to go to the countryside, but the afternoon traffic was simply prohibitive.

Had she overhead, Stein, a feisty and funny woman, would have gone ballistic.