Back to Stuart's LifeWeb


It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Stuart Mestelman. After months of pain and struggle, he died in his sleep Saturday, June 25, 2022, at the Hamilton Juravinski Cancer Hospital. We are comforted knowing that he can now rest peacefully, something he spoke frequently about over the past few weeks.


Stuart is survived by his wife Laura, sister Sharon (Santa Rosa, California), son Bryan along with his spouse Kathy and their children Nathan and Tess (Victoria, BC) as well as daughter Dana along with her husband Dave and their children Neko Rei and Silas (Wolfville, NS). Stuart, son of Esther and David Mestelman, was born on July 17, 1943 and grew up in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Even as a very young child, Stuart enjoyed books and excelled in his studies. He enjoyed playing baseball and the violin as well as collecting stamps. He and his father participated in the local tropical fish club and they enjoyed visiting the aquarium.


After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Stuart took a summer internship in Washington, DC where he met Laura, after which he went on to Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana) where he studied towards a doctorate in Economics. Stuart and Laura were married in 1966.


In 1969, while finishing his doctoral thesis, Stuart had the opportunity to take a starting faculty position at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ont.) where his career spanned over 50 years. While staying in Canada was initially expected to be a short-term plan, this new community quickly felt like home. He went on to become an Associate, then Full Professor in the Economics Department, served as the department chair for 13 years and, briefly, as both the Acting Dean and, later, Acting Associate Dean of Social Sciences.


Initially Stuart and his family lived in Burlington Ontario, during which time Stuart was an active member of Solel Congregation in Mississauga. In 1990, he and Laura moved to Dundas where he lived the remainder of his life and in 1993 he became a Canadian citizen. Stuart was a loving husband, brother, father and grandfather. Described by many as caring and sincere in his relationships, Stuart could be counted on to always show up and provide support as needed. He had a good heart and took an active interest in every aspect of the lives of family and friends.


Stuart's connection at McMaster University was a major part of his life. He had a long and distinguished academic career as part of the Economics Department; he retired in 2008 but remained research active until very recently. Stuart's contributions to the department, the university and the economic profession were extensive and diverse. He played a central role in developing research in experimental economics at McMaster and more broadly. He co-founded the McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory, (now known as the McMaster Decision Science Laboratory), served as the lab co-director for 23 years, and as co-director Emeritus until now.


Stuart published very many papers and chapters in edited volumes. He was a valued mentor for countless undergraduate, and graduate students, having supervised 24 PhD students, integrating his graduate students into his research studies. He would fondly note that these students "kept him young" as he neared retirement.


Stuart was a universal mixer. He could go into any environment comfortably and have good conversations with anyone. He was very sociable and it rarely took much to convince him to participate in any event or activity. He made friends easily and enjoyed zealous conversations about anything from economics or world issues to bird migration patterns or the attributes of the Marvel Universe.


As a man of many passions, Stuart enjoyed getting into the details and minutia of all aspects of the world. He had a great thirst for knowledge and an amazing memory for things of interest to him. He was a collector of Canadian Indigenous art, had a wonderful sense of humour and was a great storyteller.


Stuart will be remembered for his stylish bowties, his contagious laughter as well as his love of baseball, international foods and hot sauces. He enjoyed music, particularly songs with lyrics which told a story. As an avid reader, he enjoyed fiction and nonfiction of many genres.


His family offers deepest thanks to the extremely supportive staff of the Hamilton General and Juravinski Hospitals. Stuart will be greatly missed.


In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for a donation in support of a Social Sciences Student Scholarship Award at McMaster University in memory of Stuart Mestelman. This can be made through