KLONOWSKI, STANLEY J. (29 May 1883-3 Feb. 1973), prominent businessman and banker, was born in Poland, graduated from the University of Poland at Warsaw, and was fluent in Russian, French, and English as well as Polish. After working as a postal clerk, telegraph operator, and serving in the Russian army, he came to the U.S. in 1904, working in several cities before settling in Cleveland in 1912. Klonowski worked for Polish businessman MICHAEL KNIOLA before opening his own private bank and foreign exchange, selling real estate, insurance, and steamship tickets as well. Klonowski incorporated in 1920 as Klonowski Savings Bank; the institution was reorganized in 1921 as the Bank of Cleveland, located on Broadway. Klonowski was bank president until 1957, then becoming chairman of the board.
Klonowski made headlines in 1931 when he wrote to Pres. Herbert Hoover suggesting the government create an agency separate from the Federal Reserve to provide credit for banks and businesses on the brink of collapse during the Depression. When Hoover later announced a $500 million credit plan for banks, the PLAIN DEALER hailed Klonowski as father of the plan, but Klonowski wisely refused the credit. In 1933, Klonowski used $280,000 of his own money to pay his depositors and creditors all the money his bank owed them, rather than pay a percentage. Klonowski served on the board of CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY 25 years. He was active Polish and Catholic affairs, serving CATHOLIC CHARITIES CORP. and helping establish MARYMOUNT HOSPITAL. In 1912 he married Stella Akuszewski; they had five children: Eva, Joseph, Leonard, Bernard, and Stanley, Jr. Klonowski died in Cleveland and was buried in CALVARY CEMETERY.