Stephen G. Landesman, age 75, of Jacksonville, New York, died at Cayuga Medical Center on May 24, 2010. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 17, 1934, he was the son of Geoffrey J. and Frances Casement Landesman.
Stephen had two great passions: animals and the opera. A former member of the Board of Directors of the Tompkins County SPCA, he was a devoted dog lover who spent many hours hiking with his much-adored canines, Elizabeth and Max, both of whom predeceased him.


An ardent opera lover, in retirement he continued reviewing productions at Glimmerglass Opera, Tri-Cities Opera and Syracuse Opera, and taught several immensely popular courses on the operatic repertoire at Lifelong Learning Center. At the time of his death he was at work on a long-term project, an authorized history of Glimmerglass.
Stephen earned a bachelor's degree in 1957 from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and an M.A. in Classical Languages and Literature from Ohio State University in 1965. He began his career as a reporter at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. After earning his master's degree, he taught in the Department of Classics and History at Carleton College, Northfield, Minn., and later as an Assistant Professor and Acting Chairman in the Department of Classics at Wells College, Aurora, NY.


From 1981 until his retirement in 2001, Stephen held various editorial positions at the Ithaca Journal, including features editor and assistant city editor. In addition to those duties, he coordinated computer systems and authored a computer handbook for employees. For several years he wrote a bi-weekly column on local affairs as well as a popular hiking column. During his tenure at the Journal he assigned and edited reviews in all areas of the arts and personally wrote hundreds of opera reviews. During his younger days he enjoyed tennis, skiing, flying light aircraft and parachuting recording 99 jumps.


To many, Stephen embodied the image of the eccentric academic: he strode through the Journal newsroom in his familiar red suspenders, unlit pipe clenched between his teeth, clever and cantankerous feigning frustration with the vicissitudes of daily journalism but secretly loving every minute of it. His temper was legendary to the point of Shakespearean: full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. He didn't suffer fools gladly but when it came to his friends, to talented singers (regardless of rank or reputation) or to any creature with four legs and a tail, he was the soul of generosity and kindness.


Survivors include his longtime partner, Patricia P. Strauss; his son, Geoffrey Landesman of Greenville, Ohio, his cousin, Ellen Weld of Twickenham, England, and two beloved cats, Kate and Nicky.