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Law School Bids Farewell to J. Stewart McClendon

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J. Stewart McClendon ('40)


J. Stewart McClendon ('40), a longtime international corporate attorney with Standard Oil Co., died Jan. 7, 2011, in New York City at age 94.

McClendon served in World War II, and after his discharge he returned to Minneapolis, his hometown. He was the 13th Ward Alderman on the Minneapolis City Council from July 1949 until September 1950, but his political career was cut short when the Army Reserve called him up to serve as a major in field artillery in the Korean War.

Discharged once again, McClendon joined Standard Oil Co. While working at its Venezuelan affiliate, Creole Petroleum, in 1959, he wrote about the practical aspects of offshore operations. He went on to work in Houston and New York City, negotiating oil leases, settling commercial disputes, and rising to the position of assistant general counsel.

In 2003, McClendon and his wife endowed the J. Stewart and Mario Thomas McClendon Professorship in Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution at the University of Minnesota Law School. The inaugural and current holder of the chair is Professor Laura J. Cooper.

McClendon was able to resolve business disputes between parties from different countries using arbitration. His experience was the basis of his desire to see that law students learn "that means other than traditional litigation can often better resolve all kinds of human conflicts," Cooper says. "His vision in establishing, with his wife, an endowed chair assures that research and education in alternative dispute resolution will always be part of the mission of the University of Minnesota Law School."

McClendon was an active member in veterans' organizations and causes, and he continued to exercise his love of downhill skiing until age 80.

He was recently preceded in death by Mario, his wife of 67 years. He is survived by daughters Janet Vaskas of Media, Penn., and Margaret Aspinwall of New York City.