Remembering Michael Stein (1940 – 2020)

January 20, 2020

The Department lost a dear friend and colleague over the weekend. Michael Stein passed away on January 19th. After retiring from McMaster University, Michael taught for many years in our Department, mainly in the fields of Canadian politics and federalism. He was a warm and genial colleague, and was held in affectionate regard by the many students whose lives he touched. We will miss him, and our hearts go out to his wife of 55 years, Janice Stein, and all their family.

Professor David Cameron

Michael Bernard Stein (Obituary)

Published in The Globe and Mail from Jan. 20 to Jan. 24, 2020

Michael died as he lived, with grace and quiet dignity.

Michael died at home from complications of corticobasal degeneration. In these last three years, as the disease intensified its grip, Michael accepted each stage with grace. When he could no longer read, he listened. When he could no longer speak, he heard. And throughout, he smiled at the family he loved and took pleasure in quiet moments of joy. In his dying as in his living, he did only good in the world.

Throughout his life, Michael played with ideas and delighted in the fun. As a youngster, he loved to read and talk about what he was reading. He went to McGill as an undergraduate where he was an outstanding debater, and then to Princeton as a Woodrow Wilson scholar. He returned to his beloved Canada and taught at Carleton, McGill, McMaster and the University of Toronto. He was intrigued by the creativity and flexibility of Canadians as they fashioned solutions through federalism and spent his academic career writing about the ways Canadians governed themselves. He took the Canadian experience abroad and collaborated with scholars around the world in comparative studies of governance.

Michael had a deep interest and affection for his students. Always gregarious, he would spend long and happy hours in conversation with  them.  His affection for them was reciprocated as many stayed in touch long after they graduated and asked about him constantly over these last three years.

Michael was the son of the late A.L. Stein and Eleanor Spiesman of Montreal. He is survived by his wife and best friend of fifty-five years, Janice, and by his two sons that were the joy of his life, Isaac and Gabriel, and his daughter-in-law Rana Arbabian. His eyes lit up when he saw his boys. He thought they were marvelous human beings and they were the great unexpected blessings in his life. In the last few months, he had the sheer joy of meeting his grandson, Noah, who never failed to make him smile. He is survived as well by his brother Alan and his sister-in-law Barbara, by his brother David and his sister-in-law Myrna, by his sister Karen Engel and his brother-in-law Bobby, and by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Susan and Peter Solomon, by nieces and nephews, and by great nieces and nephews. In a noisy family, everyone loved Michael’s kindness, warmth, reasonableness, and goodness. We will all miss the extraordinary man that Michael was.

Special thanks to Dr. David Tang-Wei, Maria Martinez, Dr. Marnie Howe, and Mary Halihen for the extraordinary care that they provided. Michael’s family is deeply grateful for the devotion of Glaiza Asuncion, Jim Ho, and William Richards that enabled Michael to stay at home with his family that he loved and that loved him.

Please make a donation in memory of Michael to a charity of your choice.

A private funeral was held. Shiva is at 2 St. Thomas Street, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 6:00-8:30 pm.