Share a special moment from Stuart's life.

My Personal Relationship With Dear Stuart & An Anecdote

Shared by Jimmy Obadia on April 30, 2021
I do not know where to start or how to do Stuart justice, but I am posting of my personal relationship with dear Stuart.

My other best friend, David Zeloof, was the one who introduced me to Stuart at around age 15. It became an immediate, jovial and long-lasting friendship.
The three of us were very close friends and then grew up together with a strong bond. The "Three Amigos" I used to jokingly call us.

Our formative years were spent together and in influence on each other.
David left London to live abroad about a decade ago but the three of us were in those daily email communications going back and forth from three separate locations and three time zones. 

This, while we each were at work over our desks.
I would stop everything I was doing when one of these emails arrived to read and answer back, then there would be a following reply from the two others. There could be up to thirty such emails in a day!

Then, during Stuart's night time and my very late time (I sleep in the early hours) he would send me articles on cars and/or food recipes!
To which I was obliged to comment on and he would conclude with "Get some sleep!".

Now, after reading about how many others Stuart was in communication with, it is truly amazing that Stuart had the time for all this and how he managed it all, keeping so many friends compartmentalised as well.

It should be added that before the era of emails I would receive postcards in his distinguished handwriting written with black ink, always a treat to read. I would also receive in the post magazine or newspaper articles which he thought of interest to me, as well as the many books inscribed with a comment and signed on the inside cover page.

My favourite travels in life were those with Stuart to places such as Rome and Paris where I experienced the culture of these places and the appreciation of their art and architecture in his company. So much fun together, as well as fulfilling our photographic hobby.

I have posted some old slides on the Memorial site from my travels in Europe with Stuart in the late 70s.

I used to keep a daily record on these trips and would remind Stuart on each decade's anniversary of where we were and what we had eaten. On the fortieth anniversary of our week's trip to Paris I reminded him of exactly what we had to eat at the famous La Tour d'Argent restaurant, and far more pointedly, what he had drunk from their cellars (a considerable list).

From our teenage years we shared the same love of history, politics, aviation, cars, art, architecture, the US, and had the same hobby of photography.

Stuart’s ideal relaxation was to read a book while smoking a cigar, drinking a cognac or a brandy, and having a Beethoven symphony playing in the background. His other great love was to watch his beloved football team, Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs), playing a match.

I am still in shock at his passing. We would communicate many times throughout each day by email (including on his last day), and as one of my most cherished and oldest friends, I miss him terribly every day. I really expected that we would grow old together and be in contact way into the future.

I missed his physical presence when he left London for the US in the 80s as we would be together and in each other's homes on a weekly basis. But now I will not even have these occasional meetings when he would visit the family or our daily email exchanges. He was a very, very large part of my life for almost half a century.

He is in my thoughts daily and I shall miss him so much going into the future. It is so sad and maybe I am being selfish in this but it has left a very large hole in my life that can never be filled. I expected at least another twenty years or more of this relationship. 
I was inconsolable at the news and in tears at the very thought of such an unexpected occurrence.

Stuart was very sociable, was knowledgeable about, and could converse on numerous subjects. He put prodigious effort into his friendships. He had a great sense of humour and a winning smile. One could not help but to like him and love him.

I am heartened to see that so many were similarly affected by knowing him and of how special he was to so many other people.

We are now ALL left with just the memories and it is there where Stuart will now live.

Jimmy Obadia


There is an amusing anecdote which I will not forget. During a stay in Milan together for a wedding in 1984 we were invited for a Friday night dinner.

At that period there was a TV advert for Gillette razor blades, which had introduced a twin blade razer, that stated: "The first blade shaves you close, then the second blade shaves you closer still".

Stuart had his shower then came out to go through his case for his shaver. He had just purchased one of these new twin blade shavers. 

Every now and then I would hear an exclamation coming from the bathroom and enquired what was the matter. He opened the door and said "Look!". His face had three pieces of tissue covering the parts where he had cut himself and blood flowing. 

"It's very tricky with this twin blade and I am not used to it. I have to be careful", and he went back inside.

He then commented "In my case, they should change the advert to 'If the first blade doesn't cut you, then the second blade will’."

He fell about laughing and he cut himself again. Which brought us both to hysterics. 

One of those special moment when one person sets the other one off and it becomes contagious.

Shared by PIERS MOUNTGARRET on April 8, 2021
We all know Stuart took great pleasure in sending articles of diverse interests to many of his friends.  Cars, Wine, Bikinis, Fashion, Food, Cigars, the list goes on.  My wife, Fenella, and I were frequent recipients, inter alia, of many a food recipe. We did not have time to try them all but many we did.  Indeed the last recipe he sent in late February was Nigel Slater’s recipe for chicken with leeks.

It was delicious even though the dish might appear at first rather simple.However, either Stuart was laughing at us or it was just serendipitous because two days after his passing, we called to speak to his good friend Tina Vaux in Switzerland. What was she cooking for dinner?  The exact same menu that we were, and one that he had sent to her!

Books, Bikinis, and the Final Piece of Snail Mail

Shared by Julie Blake on April 6, 2021
Stuart would have been the first person I called today, to let him know that it was an unprecedented balmy 81 degrees Fahrenheit in Chicago and I was sunning in the back yard. He would have been so happy to hear that I was enjoying the sun and wearing one of the two dozen bikinis that he had sent me over the past 12 years. He always wanted to know which one I had selected to wear on any given day, and it pleased him greatly that his gifts brought joy and sustained my favorite hobby.

Stuart also sent me an equally impressive number of cocktail table books, ranging in topic from my favorite artists to iconic fashion designers to travel destinations and the best beaches in the world. Rarely anything in-between ... books to bikinis pretty much covered it all.

He was always careful to tread lightly with conversation in the winter, and never reminded me of that fact that his gaze was cast on the ocean and palm trees while my view was of snow, icicles, and seemingly endless grey vistas. Stuart was gracious to only mention the weather if I initiated the topic. February 2021 was an especially "horrid" month in Chicago, with over 30 days of below-freezing temperatures and record-breaking amounts of snowfall. It seems fitting that the final piece of snail mail which I received, postmarked March 6, 2021 was a message to "Hang in There" as "Spring is on the Way!!" Always the supportive and nurturing friend, I will miss his sweet remembrances forever and am grateful to have known such an impeccably wonderful human being.
Shared by Stephen Gibbs on April 4, 2021
Stuart was Chairman of the First Wednesday of the Month Club.  Below are some excerpts from the NY Times article (March 30, 1997) describing Stuart's role and giving a taste of our  time together.  My apologies to author Edward Lewine for the edits.  

Nothing Lasts Forever
Edward Lewine

''SHUT UP,'' boomed Stuart Aarons in his British baritone. ''Now shut up. I am calling a meeting. It is the 11th anniversary of this august body.''

The February 1997 meeting of the First Wednesday of the Month Club was officially in session. Eight of the club's nine active members were seated around a table in the Bridge Cafe, a cozy restaurant on Water Street by the South Street Seaport. The lights were low, wine was flowing, spirits were light, but there was also some tension in the air. The members suspected that they would be calling it quits that night.

It was a wrenching decision. On the first Wednesday of every month, month after month for close to 11 years, the members had gathered at one bar or another in Manhattan. They would drink and talk and then have a short meeting -- concerned mostly with deciding where to hold the next gathering -- and then drink and talk some more.

It had been great fun, but 1996 had not been a good year for the club. The members had been in their mid 20's and new to the city back in 1986, when they had first come together. Now, looking around the table, the effects of time were plain to see. Waistlines had grown, hairlines had receded and wrinkles had deepened. People had children to think about now and new jobs and other interests.
When the table had settled down for Mr. Aarons, he took attendance, greeted a few guests and conducted a small ceremony in honor of the Shaws. Then Mr. Aarons came to what everybody was waiting for.
''We have openly talked about doing something differently,'' he said delicately. ''Because times have moved on. So I say we should pick a date to come up with a new format for the club.''
They all agreed. The monthly meetings weren't sustainable anymore. Maybe they would meet once a year or something. Someone seconded the motion and everyone assented. After 11 years, the First Wednesday of the Month Club had calmly voted itself out of existence.
In many ways the First Wednesday of the Month Club had outlived its usefulness. The idea for the club was hatched on the first Wednesday of February 1986, when five young executives at what was then Chemical Bank gathered for after-work drinks at Crawdaddy, a bar on East 45th Street.
The five, who included three current members, Mr. Aarons, Ms. Shaw and Jim Bergesen, were typical of the young people who have been flocking to the city to make their fortune for the last century. This group had come to town in the go-go 1980's. It was a time of big money, power ties and punishing work schedules. It was not an environment conducive to building friendships.
Thus, the First Wednesday of the Month Club was born. It wasn't like a club devoted to, say, books or wine tasting. This club was intended to arrest change. The five young founders wanted something that their urban, business-oriented lives couldn't provide: a safe cocoon where they would be known and accepted.
''We would all have gone out anyway,'' Mr. Aarons said. ''But it was nice to have a little core.''
As the meetings of the first year rolled on, they elected Ms. Shaw, who was then Sally Ryan, and Mr. Aarons as officers. Rules of membership were ordained and fines, in the form of rounds bought, were established for showing up late. Before they knew it, they were celebrating their first anniversary with a big dinner.
''The first anniversary dinner was the pivotal moment,'' Mr. Aarons said. ''There was a sense then that this club had actually taken on a life of its own.''
They had epic meetings. Mr. Aarons recalls a time when they literally took over a restaurant near the United Nations by enticing all the other diners in the room to join onto their table and hold a discussion on international relations. One evening, Jackie Yang, who had joined at the third meeting, held a pillow-fight-filled pajama party at her apartment. And there were many legendary bar crawls that lasted well into the morning.
''It began as a lark,'' said Mr. Aarons. ''Because you can't say that four or five people who were drunk in a bar would do anything else. But it became something more appreciated, or worth preserving, as time went on.''
"I can play for one day," Mr. Aarons said, "even though I have to be a grown-up tomorrow."
Mr. Aarons kept the banter flowing.
''Stuart, our chairman, would be the center of attention at our meetings,'' said Mr. Bergesen.
For now each member of the First Wednesday of the Month Club is off leading his or her life and trying to deal with the loss of this odd little society. This Wednesday will be the first Wednesday of the month of April 1997. And wherever they happen to be, a small group of men and women will look at their calendars and remember.
''We've had a great 10-year run,'' Mr. Aarons said, ''but we've all moved on."
Thank you Stuart.

His goddaughter, Alexa, 18th birthday

Shared by PIERS MOUNTGARRET on April 1, 2021

Weekend mornings will not be the same.

Shared by Pimm Fox on March 29, 2021
Who will I berate for watching too much Premier League Football? With whom will I discuss the finer points of post card collecting? Who will send me triple-taped Hallmark cards? And what will replace the multi-page stapled and commented upon articles about 1960s Jaguar saloons? All of which merely confirms that I - and so many - will be at a loss - without Stuart to declare with a touch of glee that the world has gone mad and that we must each discover and follow our own path to enjoyment and happiness. The network of friends grew ever more alive and interesting, the toasts resounded with more laughter, and the esoteric knowledge of Merlin engines seemed more important and interesting because of the shadow Stuart spread far and wide, in person and in proxy. I am going to have to assume that his spirit and smile continues to inhabit my world, making it spin a little more giddily, because the alternative is uninteresting. Something Stuart would never allow.

Friend, Advisor, Consultant & Overall Great Gentlemen

Shared by Al Kress on March 24, 2021
I met Stuart over 10 years ago thru Gene Lipkin and Frank Ballouz.  I was a manufacturer of amusement machines.  
Stuart advised me when I purchased my former partner of 22 years out.
Ron Halliburton, who was my partner, trusted Stuart and that made the deal
go much easier.  Then Stuart struck up a relationship with my banker.  They got along great both speaking the same language. Then Stuart had the task of negotiating for the sale of the building from Ron to me.  Then a few years later Stuart was very instrumental in the sale of my business to a company from the Neterhlands.  He got along very well with the buyer which made things easier for me.  After I sold the business Stuart met my stockbroker and that relationship became a great mutual admiration society as they conversed
on a semi-weekly basis.
Then Stuart and I would have lunch and we would have conversations on the projects he was working on.  I was familiar with almost all his projects and was
able to send him write up's about his work that I think were very helpful. We would go to his favorite restaurant called Sporto's and sit outside so I could bring my dog with me and sit for lunch and conversation for hours on end.
I truly miss our luncheons and almost daily phone calls on updates of his projects.  I have enclosed comments from some of the people that Stuart
Interacted with.  I also heard from Nolan Bushnell, the former President
of Atari expressing his condolences.  
May Stuart Rest in Peace.

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