Saturday, October 12, 2002

Obituary: Henry Stefanik, former CMHA chief

By Rebecca Billman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Henry R. Stefanik, former director of student affairs and assistant dean of students at Miami University and retired executive director of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, died of multiple myelomacancer of the bone marrow Sept. 17 at his Hyde Park home. He was 83.

“Henry prided himself as being an active participant in life, whether it was driving his little red Corvette in a Shriners' parade or building park bench seats for an amphitheater at the Salvation Army Wonderland Camp in Wisconsin. He thrived on activity and service to others,” said his wife, Miriam.

“His was a life serving God and his fellow man — from his youth through his older years.”

Mr. Stefanik began working for the Housing Authority as a personnel manager in 1952. He advanced to assistant, then executive director — a position he held for 13 years before retiring in 1984. At that time, he was presented a key to the city by the mayor.

During those years, Mr. Stefanik also served as chairman of the Ohio Housing Authority Conference and the Technical and Maintenance Department of the National Association for Housing and Redevelopment Organization.

Prior to that, he taught industrial arts at Miami, while working on a master's degree. In addition to being director of student affairs and assistant dean, he served as freshman adviser, head resident of Symmes, Ogden, Elliott, Stoddard and Reid halls, and student social director.

Mr. and Mrs. Stefanik met on campus when “Stef,” as he was affectionately called in those days, crashed a formal dance in golf attire. It was the beginning of a 47-year relationship.

Mr. Stefanik was born 1918 in California, Pa., a small coal-mining town. He began working various jobs to earn extra income to help support his mother and three sisters after his father died when he was 12. But the added responsibility didn't prevent him from becoming a school football and basketball star and chorus member.

He went on to California State Teachers College, where he received a B.S. in industrial arts. He started out teaching woodworking, drafting and blueprint reading to students at Boswell (Pa.) High School.

During World War II, Mr. Stefanik served with the Army Signal Corps in Hawaii.

It was after his return from the war that he began studying and teaching at Miami. He went on to receive a master's degree in guidance and counseling from Miami and one in student personnel administration from Columbia University in New York.

Mr. Stefanik was a member of Knox Presbyterian Church in Hyde Park, where he was a deacon, trustee, elder and choir member. He founded the Hyde Park Community Council, and was a member of the Syrian Shriners, the Cincinnati Rotary Club, and the Scottish Rite of Cincinnati.

In addition to his wife, survivors include: a son, Michael Stefanik of Powell, Ohio; two daughters, Patricia Stefanik of Amelia and Elizabeth Stefanik Wall of Oakley; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service is 1 p.m. Oct. 19 at Knox Presbyterian Church, Michigan and Observatory avenues in Hyde Park.The remains were cremated and will be interred in California, Pa.

Memorials: American Cancer Society, 11117 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati 45242 or a charity of the donor's choice.


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