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STOUFFER, ABRAHAM E. AND STOUFFER, LENA MAHALA (BIGELOW)

STOUFFER, ABRAHAM E. AND STOUFFER, LENA MAHALA (BIGELOW)

STOUFFER, ABRAHAM E. (7 July 1875-16 Oct. 1936) and STOUFFER, LENA MAHALA (BIGELOW) (June 1880-8 Oct. 1953) were founders of the Stouffer restaurant chain. Abraham was born on a farm in Columbiana County, the son of James B. and Sarah Busbey Stouffer and received his education in public grade schools. Lena, the daughter of Orrin and Della M. (Gordon) Bigelow, married Abraham in Cleveland 12 Sept. 1900. They were living in Medina in 1914 when Abraham and his father organized the Medina County Creamery and also opened a dairy stand at Cleveland's SHERIFF STREET MARKET. The Stouffers moved to Lakewood in 1916 to manage the Creamery business. Abraham resigned as president of the company in 1922 to operate one of the creamery's milk stands located in the lower level of THE ARCADE. Stouffer and his wife converted the stand-up dairy bar to a restaurant where they began serving buttermilk, toasted sandwiches and Lena's homemade dutch apple pie. Working together they opened another Stouffer restaurant at 2030 E. 9th St. the following year, and Abraham incorporated Stouffer Lunch Systems with $15,000 capital in 1924. As the firm expanded he and Lena increasingly left the business in the hands of their sons, Vernon and Gordon who organized the Stouffer Corporation in 1929. Abraham served as chairman of the firm's board until he died in 1936. At that time, the family controlled a chain of 10 restaurants.

A resident of West Richfield, Abraham died in Cleveland and was buried at Lakewood Park Cemetery. Lena Stouffer married again in 1939 to Roy H. Southworth. She died in Akron, Ohio and is buried along with Abraham in Lakewood Park Cemetery.