STOUFFER, VERNON BIGELOW (22 Aug. 1901-26 July 1974), president of Stouffer Corp., a national chain of restaurants, motor inns, and food-service operations, was born in Cleveland to ABRAHAM AND LENA MAHALA BIGELOW STOUFFER and graduated with a B.S. in 1923 from Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. In 1922, Abraham Stouffer opened a dairy counter in the Arcade featuring buttermilk, cheese sandwiches, and Lena Stouffer's Dutch apple pies. Vernon joined his father in 1924, opening Stouffer's Lunch, a restaurant serving quick, tasty meals at moderate prices, the first of a chain of restaurants. In 1929 the Stouffers went public, founding Stouffer Corp., which eventually became part of Litton Industries. Stouffer personally tested new products, and while traveling, secretly checked food and service quality at his restaurants and inns.
In 1966, Stouffer purchased controlling interest in the CLEVELAND INDIANS, selling the franchise in 1972 to a group headed by Nick Mileti after what he said was the longest 5 years of his life, as the club suffered from poor teams, low attendance, and a poor economy. He was a trustee for Litton Industries, United Airlines, REPUBLIC STEEL, and Society Natl. Bank. Stouffer established the Vernon Stouffer Corp. to support activities in medicine, education, and public welfare. In 1966, he established the Stouffer Prize, recognizing research in hypertension and arteriosclerosis. He was president of the Zoological Society and a founder of the Natl. Recreation & Park Assoc. Stouffer married Gertrude Dean in 1928 and had 3 children, Marjorie, Deanette, and James.