Romance Novelist Accused of Killing Chef Husband Months After She Spoke at His Memorial

Daniel Brophy, 63, was fatally shot at the Oregon Culinary Institute on the morning of Saturday, June 2, officials said.

A self-published romance novelist has been arrested in Oregon and charged in the killing of her chef husband, whose death she publicly mourned at a vigil months ago.

Daniel Brophy, 63, was shot at the Oregon Culinary Institute around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, officials said.

Emergency responders tried to save Brophy, but he died at the school. 

Brophy was remembered for his passion for food, foraging and experimentation in the kitchen.

“Dan was known as the resident encyclopedia of knowledge at Oregon Culinary Institute. He was a marine biologist, master gardener and mushroom expert,” the OCI said. “He was active in the community as a speaker, an advocate and a volunteer. He will be remembered for his offbeat sense of humor and creative approach to teaching."

Brophy came to the Culinary Institute in 2006 and quickly established a reputation for being a tough but fair, memorable educator. 

“You know what it feels like to be a new culinary student looking down the hall at Chef Brophy,” Brophy’s former student-turned-colleague Chef Brian Wilke said to laughs at the memorial held two days after Brophy's death. 

“He’s the guy more than anybody else that got me interested in teaching and educating because he was such, such a great, amazing teacher,” Wilke said. “For all the gruff and for all the posturing and all the ‘no smiling,’ he had a heart of gold and everybody here knows that. Once you got over the little fear factor idea, he was one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever, ever known.”

The memorial was attended by devastated colleagues and students, as well as by Brophy’s wife of more than 25 years, Nancy Crampton-Brophy.

"Dan was one of the very few people I've known that knew exactly what he wanted in life and loved doing it," she said at the vigil, KATU-TV reported at the time

She also broke the news of his death on Facebook, saying in a June 3 post: “I have sad news to relate. My husband and best friend, Chef Dan Brophy was killed yesterday morning. 

“For those of you who are close to me and feel this deserved a phone call, you are right, but I’m struggling to make sense of everything right now,” she wrote. 

She thanked well-wishers for their support, but said she was "overwhelmed," and asked to "please save phone calls for a few days until I can function."

But on Wednesday 68-year-old Crampton-Brophy was arrested at her Washington County home and charged with murder and unlawful use of a weapon in the death of her husband, Portland police said.

A motive for the killing has not been released. 

“Based on information learned during the investigation, detectives believe Nancy L. Crampton-Brophy is the suspect in Daniel C. Brophy's murder,” Portland police said in a statement. 

During Crampton-Brophy’s first court appearance in Multnomah County Thursday, Judge John Wittmayer ordered the probable cause affidavit to remain sealed due to the ongoing investigation. 

Crampton-Brophy was the author of several self-published romance novels, including "Hell on the Heart," "The Wrong Brother” and the "The Wrong Husband."

“My stories are about pretty men and strong women, about families that don’t always work and about the joy of finding love and the difficulty of making it stay,” Crampton-Brophy wrote on her website.

She shared about her life with her husband, writing: "Like all marriages, we’ve had our ups and downs, more good times than bad."

The pair lived in the suburbs, where they raised chickens and turkeys and had "a fabulous vegetable garden," she wrote.

“I can’t tell you when I fell in love with my husband, but I relate the moment I decided to marry him,” she wrote. "I was in the bath. It was a big tub. I expected him to join me and when he was delayed, I called out, ‘Are you coming?’ His answer convinced me he was Mr. Right. 'Yes, but I’m making hors d’oeuvres.' Can you imagine spending the rest of your life without a man like that?"