Edward “Ed” Stolman, a Sonoma County transplant with an eclectic and successful business resume who was later credited with helping launch the lifelong learning program at Sonoma State University and orchestrating financial support for that campus's prominent Green Music Center, died Sunday of cancer. He was 86.
Born Feb. 15, 1926, in Chicago, Ill., to Dorothy and Abraham Stolman, Edward Robert Stolman attended Northwestern University. He graduated in 1946 and a year later married the former Luas Olshine. The couple had two sons before Luas Stolman died in the mid-70s. Ed Stolman married the former Joan Greene Sherman in 1978. She died five years later.
Always an acute businessman, Stolman dabbled in an mix of ventures and almost always made them work, said his son, Richard Stolman of Addison, Texas.
Stolman ran a clothing business, launched an upscale bowling alley and built a swimming club with Olympic-sized pool. But those were side ventures this son said.
Stolman was executive vice president of Hospital Affiliates and later become vice president of the board when the company went public. It eventually was purchased by Cigna.
He was both president and chairman of the board of directors of the Federation of American Hospitals, and served on the board of directors for the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore and Cromwell Hospital in London, Richard Stolman said.
He was living in Tennessee when he received a call from his brother about an extraordinary ice cream bar.
“My uncle said, ‘Right now, get in your car; you've got to taste this,' ” Richard Stolman recalled.
The frozen treat, being sold at a small shop and various country clubs outside of Chicago, was made by a business called Dove Ice Cream and Candies.
Stolman and his brother invested in the ice cream bar, now called the Dove Bar, built production facilities and grew the company exponentially.
“It was growing beyond any of our imaginations,” Richard Stolman said. The Stolman family was about to take the company public but accepted a deal from Mars Incorporated, which today owns M&Ms, Snickers, Twix and several pet food companies among others.