Stewart D. Mendelson
22 Years Old

November 6, 1961 to October 6, 1984

Stewart D. Mendelson, first-born of 3 sons, was born in San Francisco. He was a social, stubborn, independent kid who loved the outdoors. He learned to swim as a baby, loved a stationary riding Yogi Bear toy and sock doll "Sandy", had a hamster, Pete, and toured the bay area in his Gerry backpack.

On the move back to Wheeling, WV in '65, we realized Stu couldn't pronounce initial F's correctly. After miles of singing choruses of Fe, Fi, Fidi I O, by the time we reached WV, Stu had mastered those F's! Stu had a dog, Brindle, but was overjoyed when brothers Andy and Matt came along when he was 6 and 8. He was always very proud and protective of them. Stu loved the winter and was an excellent skier and skater. He went to Y camps, survival, canoe, hockey and Jewish camps. His cousin Rick came on summer beach vacations. Stu was my best yardman, enjoyed cooking his famous rib sauce, REALLY loved his Harley Davidson motorcycle, and had a huge record collection. We decided to make a poolroom in the basement. Stu immediately ripped off walls. We HAD to do the room.

During 2nd grade, I realized Stu had a reading problem. We saw specialists and finally his Uncle Bob diagnosed an eye muscle problem that necessitated 1 and 1/2 years of training. It enabled Stu to successfully attend college. He majored in marketing and enjoyed many business discussions with his Dad. Stu was proud to be graduating and worked very hard for B's in his major. His peers voted him chairperson of their senior marketing project. After his death, they sent me a finished copy. We proudly accepted his OU degree posthumously.

Stu had dated one girl for 6 years, then met Peg at college and she was the one! After his death, she dropped out of school, returning to get a law degree. She later married, had 2 girls, divorced. We still keep in touch.

Stu was artistic - an excellent potter. He had a good eye and sense of balance (owned and rode a unicycle). He was scuba-certified. He had good common sense and could talk to anyone. He worked at our stores and with friend John, did the construction work to get our Mall branch store ready to open.

Stu loved life and often said, "Mom, you learn more from the bad stuff than the good stuff." And what the bad stuff (his death) has taught me is: 1. Life is precious, don't procrastinate. 2. Accept that life isn't fair, yet live kindly and joyously. 3. Share the wisdom/compassion gained from his death.

Stu was a big guy yet comfortable in his skin and I've tried to learn from his life. Stu's oft-repeated comment, "I'm a happy child," rings consolingly in my ears. Stu and I were so alike that I feel I've buried a big chunk of myself. He was a good guy, you would have liked him!

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

On October 6th, 1984, in the college town of Athens, Ohio, my son, Stewart D. Mendelson was walking with his fiancée - both to graduate from Ohio University in five weeks.

Two men on the courthouse railing were drinking and yelling obscenities at passing girls. Peg responded by gesturing with a paper cup and water his one man in the chest. That man, John Salyers, Jr. and his companion, Steve, confronted my son and Steve hit Stewart in the eye. An eye witness who had seen Salyers tossing a knife behind his back from hand to hand was horrified as Salyers stuck the knife into Stu's neck, ripping it two inches. Trial testimony quoted Salyers telling Steve, "That dude I stuck, I think I killed him. Let's go up the street later and stick a nigger and watch him die."

Salyers was arrested, tried and sentenced for first degree murder - fifteen years to life. Salyers, with a long rap sheet, had only been out of a Florida prison four days (released early because of overcrowding).

Salyers, denied parole in 1995, has been in solitary twice for insubordination and in three different security prisons since 1984.

Salyers, prisoner No. 185067, is up for parole June, 2005. As a repeat offender, with a poor prison record coupled with the deliberateness of his lethal attack on Stu, I feel strongly he is a danger to society and belongs behind bars. He is presently in the Ohio prison system.

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Stewart Mendelson