Stu Stein 2001. Photo by Jon Reis.
Stuart W Stein
  • 84 years old
  • Date of birth: Nov 29, 1929
  • Date of passing: Jun 24, 2014
We make a living
by what we get,
but we make a life
by what we give.
—Winston Churchill

Stuart W. Stein, who died on June 24, 2014 at the age of 84, was an innovative leader, an inspiring teacher, an idealistic planner, an engaged and ethical public servant, and a beloved family member and friend. He contributed to his community in many ways — as a Cornell University professor of City and Regional Planning, as a Tompkins County legislator, as a pioneer in historic preservation, as a member of numerous New York State boards and commissions, as a creator of innovative programs to foster economic development, tourism, and the arts, and as a mentor who inspired many others to become engaged in community service.

We welcome you to this memorial web site for Stu and encourage you to expore the tabs above, which offer photos and stories of Stu's long and fulfilling life. We also welcome you to enrich these pages by offering a memory, telling a story, writing a tribute, posting a photo, or conveying a message to Stu's family.

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Stuart W. Stein Memorial Fund

In honor of Stu’s passion for promoting an ethic of service at the university, mentoring students, and engaging them in fieldwork, a fund has been established to foster student involvement in the betterment of the wider community. The fund will support an annual student internship in tourism planning, especially cultural heritage tourism, in Tompkins County and the Finger Lakes region.

Stu was committed to cultivating a community-based approach to tourism development in which quality of life and economic development are advanced in equal measure. He established and nurtured this vision locally and this fund will continue to bring Stu’s vision to life into the future.

The internship will be jointly administered by Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning and the Tompkins County Tourism Program. Donations to the Stuart W. Stein Memorial Fund may be made at any Tompkins Trust Company office, or sent to: Tompkins Trust Company, PO Box 460, Ithaca, NY 14851, Attn: Ursula Russ

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Simone Kussatz on 29th October 2017

"I'm sad to hear about the passing of Stuart Stein, the father of my former roommate and friend Jenny Stein. I first met Stuart back in the early 1990s, when he and Sandy came to visit Jenny at our apartment in Sherman Oaks, a district in Los Angeles. Jenny and I were students at UCLA back then. The first impression I had of Stuart was that he was a very kind and intelligent man with a sweet smile. Jenny very much looks like him. I remember that I felt touched that he and Sandy invited me to come along for dinner with them and Jenny. Later, when I returned to Germany, where I'm from, Stewart and Sandy visited me in Berlin and I was so happy to see them again and to take them around town in my black Fiat Panda. I remember how the three of us (Jenny was not with them) were walking through Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam. Later, I visited the Stein family in Ithaca, New York around the holidays. This must have been 18 years ago and the last time I saw him."

This tribute was added by Ken Jupiter on 24th June 2016

"As a student of Stus' back in the early seventies I went to him along with my partners in crime Rob Chelseth and Mark Trumbo with the possibility of winning grant from the then America the Beautiful Fund stemming from our work in Watkins Glen.
We had someone from America the Beautiful coming to Ithaca to discuss our proposal.
I will always remember Stus' immediate response was to yell to his then secretary Hugh to get the department credit card so that we could conduct the interview over lunch at the Statler. I believe that Stus' exact words to Hugh were "these guys have a woman coming with a hot checkbook, give them the department credit card".  
Stu always knew the steps in the dance and those dance lessons have
always served me well."

This tribute was added by Rick Blythe on 5th May 2015

"I met Stu a little more than 15 years ago with he was involved with what was then an electricity aggregation project between Tompkins and Tioga Counties.  

As the Broome County Purchasing Agent, at the time I was intrigued by the concept and after meeting with representatives of the organization we joined.  Soon the organization became the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA).  Stu was a founding member, Chairman of the Board, Executive Director and in charge of Special Projects.  I am honored to be associated with the organization today.

An innovator, a leader, a mediator and a mentor - all describe Stu and for those of us who knew him we are richer for the experience."

This tribute was added by LeGrace Benson on 3rd May 2015

"In community political discussions and disputations  Stu set us an example to look and listen, giving all due respect, for any point of common agreement, no matter how slight, then to establish that common ground in order to move ahead toward further agreement. This is true leadership. We can honoe Stu best by following his example."

This tribute was added by Marcia Kees on 2nd May 2015

"As one of the many students that Stu advised during his years at Cornell, I shared in soaking up his teachings and advice. I was fortunate enough to continue to work with Stu over many years after I left Cornell, through his involvement with several state and federal commissions. I always considered his approach to any issue as invaluable guidance to whatever work was at hand.      
I was able to repay him just a bit by having the honor of writing the nomination, on behalf of New York Upstate Chapter of the America Planning Association, for his selection as a member of the Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners. This may have been one of the easier papers I have ever written; the only hard part was the page limitation! While this is just one of many honors bestowed on Stu throughout his life, witnessing his induction to the FAICP with his family in 2000 was certainly a personal joy for me, and a source of pride for all of the members of the Upstate APA Chapter.
I am so sorry I am not able to attend the memorial service on May 3. Stu is truly missed and I know I will continue to carry his wisdom and advice as a touchstone for my life."

This tribute was added by claudia b secundy on 2nd May 2015

"Twelve hours after meeting "Uncle Stu,"
I knew four things for sure:
He was an Eskimo
The avenue off State Street was named for him
He was born with a camera
He knew everything.

I can't begin to explain what his presence meant, or how his absence feels. But  there are two ways to safely travel roads unknown.  One with a GPS ; one with  SWS.  And, as it is with stars, Stu's light will forever be a guide."

This tribute was added by Tim Joseph on 30th April 2015

"When my thesis stalled out for years after planning school, Stu approached me and suggested writing up my experience with the Town of Caroline Planning Advisory Committee.  He chaired my committee and got me through to the degree.

When I was elected to the County Legislature, Stu was already there and served as a mentor and leader during my early years.  I was proud to follow in his footsteps."

This tribute was added by Susan Quateman on 29th April 2015

"Stu taught me Urban Design 101 when I was a very young city and regional planning student, back in the 1980s. I still remember my first homework assignment: to map my old London neighborhood using landmarks and pathways that made sense to me.  The end product was an extraordinary map of sensory memory: a foundation stone for understanding the built and natural environment as both physical and emotional landscapes, which was to serve me well throughout my career.

Stu was a big influence on my choice of thesis, to work on the Tenant’s Movement in Philadelphia, and on my decision to work at the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services after I graduated with my Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning in 1982. His passion for historic preservation also influenced me: one of my favorite consulting projects was to work on the Preservation Plan for the City of Fitchburg, Ma.

Over the years as I settled in Massachusetts, married, had children and cycled between working and being a full-time mother, I lost touch with Stu. However, when our daughter Emma began her freshman year at Alfred University, I immediately knew we had to visit Ithaca and look up Stu and Sandy. I loved that visit! I saw how proud Stu was of my progress through life; how surprised and delighted he was that I had become an artist, and was weaving together my planning and landscape design work in silk paintings. More importantly, I saw that he really loved me as his old student from over thirty years ago. And that in his eyes I was still the shy, skinny, inquisitive London girl who soaked up everything he taught me.

I miss Stu Stein."

This tribute was added by Barry Pasco on 20th April 2015

"I will miss the catch up phone calls we had several times a year.  We covered a broad range of subjects sharing humor & wisdom along the way. Uncle Stuart had wonderfully insightful perspectives and I always hung up the phone feeling better for having spent my time with him.  A kind, thoughtful, gentle man who is missed by all."

This tribute was added by Aurora Valenti on 19th April 2015

"Stu Stein: One of God's last noblemen.
He was a beautiful human being... I am proud to have known him.

This tribute was added by Aleta Weaver on 17th April 2015

"Holding your family in my thoughts and heart.Blessed be."

This tribute was added by George Nagle on 13th April 2015

"Jenny, your dad was a remarkable man. You must be very proud of him."

This tribute was added by Stephen Iachetta, AICP on 10th April 2015

"We stand on the shoulders of giants and Stu Stein was a leader among giants. The world is without doubt a much better, more beautiful, and wiser place through his great work, not only at Cornell University, but in government and our broader community at all levels. Onward and upward in the spirit of Stu Stein.

Stephen Iachetta, AICP,

This tribute was added by Ken Jupiter on 9th April 2015

"Stu touched me at many points throughout my adult life. First as a student in planning at Cornell, then as a carpenter when I built the addition to his and Sandra's house and later when I was able to serve with him on the tourism board. At each and every point he taught me valuable lessons through his wisdom and humanity. To say that he is missed is an incredible understatement."

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Jenny Stein


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