STEFANSKI, BEN S. (26 Jan. 1902-8 Oct. 1991) was the founder and long-time leader of
On 24 Aug. 1937 he married Gerome Rita Rutkowski. The couple honeymooned in Washington, DC, where they applied for a federal charter for a new savings and loan company. Third Federal Savings and Loan came into existence on 3 May 1938. Stefanski's aim for the fledgling organization was straightforward: " helping the working man attain a home of his own." Third Federal prospered, always adhering to its original purposes. In the 1980s some other Cleveland savings and loan officials remarked that Stefanski's approach had become old-fashioned. He was not deterred, however, and Third Federal emerged from the decade stronger than ever, while his critics' institutions foundered. In 1995, Third Federal had 21 offices, and assets topping $4.5 billion. Stefanski served as Third Federal president and then chairman until his retirement in 1987.
Active in the Polish-American community, he was honored by the Polish American Congress and the Polish Legion. Devoted to the Catholic Church, in 1965 he pledged $1 million dollars to its high school building fund.
Stefanski was father to five children: Ben S. II, Hermine, Abigail, Floyd, and Marc, who succeeded his father as Third Federal chairman. Stefanski is buried in Cleveland's