Mary White Stewart
1945 - 2021
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Mary White Stewart

Reno - Mary White Stewart , University of Nevada-Reno Professor Emerita and Social Psychologist, was born on February 11, 1945 and died on April 13, 2021. She left this earth fighting, just as she fought for her family, friends, and her values.

Mary was the daughter of John A. White and Helen T. Stewart, both of whom preceded her in death. Mary' s survivors include daughters Tyler Stewart (Tom) and Kate Stewart Hudson, her beloved grandson Hudson Stewart, her siblings John White, Jr., Stewart White (Patricia), Holly English and Geoffrey White (Sally), as well as many accomplished and wonderful nieces and nephews. Her loyal and protective dogs, Addie and Mickey, were with Mary when she died.

Mary's academic career was long and productive. After earning her bachelor's and graduate degrees at UNR and Temple University, respectively, Mary taught sociology and social psychology at the University of Northern Colorado-Greeley, the University of Nebraska -Kearney, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and her alma mater, the University of Nevada-Reno.

Dr. Stewart was a visionary. At UNR, she developed an interdisciplinary program dedicated to the study of power, injustice, and identity in our society. This resulted in the formation of UNR's Gender, Race, and Identity (GRI) Program and UNR's offering a Masters and Graduate Certificate in Gender, Race, and Identity, one of her many academic accomplishments. In addition to inspiring and facilitating collaborations across disciplines and departments, Dr. Stewart was an outstanding mentor and advocate for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty members, throughout the University. Dr. Stewart was first appointed Director of Women's Studies in 2002. At that time the program included a lecturer, an administrator and a group of committed affiliated faculty across many UNR departments. Her vision and years of hard work ultimately led to the formation of the Gender, Race, and Identity Program in 2007. That trail blazing program allowed UNR students to major or minor in Women's Studies, and minor in Ethnic Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, Peace Studies and Religious Studies. Dr. Stewart fiercely protected the Women's Studies and GRI programs from cuts during the 2007-2009 recession, and the program grew in the years that followed. Extending Dr. Stewart's foundational work, Gender,. Race, and Identity became a new UNR Department in July 2020, and is currently home to nine faculty and staff members, more than 50 faculty associates, and 13 existing and soon-to-be launched undergraduate and graduate programs, offering minors in Black Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latinx Studies, and LGBTQ Studies. The University of Nevada is forever indebted to Dr. Stewart for her vision to build such a vibrant community of students, scholars, and community partners.

Dr. Stewart was an author. Among her many publications were several books, including Portraits of Change: Unparalleled Freedoms, Unanticipated Consequences (2012), Ordinary Violence: Everyday Assaults Against Women (2001 and a revised second edition was also recently published), Silicone Spills - Breast Implants on Trial (1998), and Organized Miracles: A Study of a Contemporary Youth Communal Fundamentalist Organization (1979). She was working on another book at the time of her death.

Dr. Stewart served as a Trial & Jury Consultant for several Reno law firms, where she utilized her skills as a social psychologist to prepare witnesses and help attorneys pick juries in their cases.

Mary was known for her wit, grace, intellect, and never-ending love of her family, especially her two daughters Tyler and Kate. She loved travel, reading, entertaining and time spent with friends and family. Mary's friends and family loved her, and offered great support to her during her illness.

The family would also like to thank the doctors, nurses and caregivers who devoted their skills to dealing with Mary's lengthy illness and its consequences, including Dr. Peter Lim and his staff.

The family asks that contributions be made to the UNR Gender, Race and Identity Department for a scholarship honoring Mary.

There will be a funeral service for Mary at 1pm on Tuesday, April 27 at Mountain View Mortuary, 425 Stoker Avenue, Reno. Following that service and Mary's graveside service at Mountain View Cemetery, an informal reception for family and friends of Marys will be held outdoors at The Grill At Quail Corners, 6520 McCarren Blvd, Reno. A memorial service and celebration of Mary's life is being planned for June. The exact date and location will be announced at that time.

I was something that lay under the sun and felt it,…and i did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. perhaps we feel like that when we die and become part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep —-from My Antonia

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Reno Journal-Gazette and Mason Valley News from Apr. 21 to Apr. 25, 2021.
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10 entries
April 28, 2021
I had the good fortune of taking several of Dr. Stewart’s classes. She was a first class professor and her mark on academia will last forever. Sincere condolences to her family and friends.
April 26, 2021
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Peter Chase & Renate Neumann
April 26, 2021
Mary was a wonderful, warm, radiant person and a truly fantastic colleague. She was so supportive of other women faculty and she was a great role model for many of us. My warmest condolences to all of her family, and I wish you strength and happy memories.
Erin Stiles
April 23, 2021
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Reno-Sparks NAACP Leadership
April 23, 2021
Mary always had an aura of elegance. Her home, yard, clothes always appeared perfect and tasteful. The last meal I enjoyed as part of one of her dinners was laid out like a Martha Stewart show piece. I will never forget the meal or Mary. She was roommate briefly in college. Her career and accomplishments were impressive. It seems almost unfair that someone who gave so much and accomplished so much suffered. She leaves a legacy of articles and books, but especially of a caring family. With condolences and warmth for her and her family, Tina
Tina Nappe
April 22, 2021
I am deeply grateful that I had the privilege of being the daughter of such an incredible woman. The world is forever altered without her. She fought incredibly hard to live and live with purpose. I remember the many years of political debate, activism, and long eloquent conversations in our house. The students, professors and friends I had the pleasure of meeting through my mother changed my life for the better.
She loved my sister with all her soul. They were beautiful friends and had an understanding and shared love of all that is good in the world.
Her Grandson was truly the light in her life. It is a joy to see that Dr. Stewart spirit in him as he grows.
I worked with mom on the University’s Women’s Prison Project and help edit portions of her works. At the time of her death she and her brother John were working on a Biography of her Grandfather John T. Stewart. She was also collecting thoughts on women,dying, and body transformation and acceptance.
Thank you to all who appreciated, loved, and honored this exquisite woman.
I love you Mama. I love you forever.
Tyler Killian
April 22, 2021
My deepest condolences to the family. Mary was a wonderful, brilliant and very sweet woman. She will be missed. Prayers and love to all.
Mo Nichols and The Porto Clan
April 22, 2021
Dr Mary White Stewart was an amazingly loving and brilliant human being and scholar. I will be forever grateful that she was my doctoral advisor and mentor. My deepest condolences to you dear Tyler and Kate, her beloved daughters. ~ Cath Byrne, Santa Cruz, CA (via S. Africa)
Cath Byrne
April 21, 2021
Mary: You were my favorite memory of my years at the University of Nevada, Reno. You believed in me when I thought no one else did. You supported me and you were always kind with your advice and suggestions. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for inviting me into your home and to your famous holiday parties, and thank you for convincing me to leave the Vancouver BC conference and go explore Victoria Island.
Walk now among the stars dear lady and we will meet again someday.
Angela Broadus
April 21, 2021
A light has gone out of the world. Godspeed, Mary.
Mara Merlino
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