Ed Stolman passes away
Edward R. Stolman was a man who knew how to turn a dream into reality. In health care, historic preservation, lifelong education, and entrepreneurship, Ed Stolman will be remembered for his business acumen, his charm, and his generous spirit. He died Sunday, Dec. 23, at 7:27 a.m. He was 86 years old.
Ed Stolman is gone, but his contributions to society live on – not just in Sonoma and Glen Ellen, but also in the world he inhabited.
A graduate of Northwestern University in 1946, Stolman obtained a degree in international business. Dabbling in many endeavors, he is best known for launching the famous Dove ice cream bar in 1982 in Nashville, Tenn., and as a co-founder of The Olive Press in Glen Ellen in 1995. One of his most recent efforts was the creation of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State University. For that achievement, he was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Sonoma State in 2001. In 2010, he was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, an honorary society of the Business School at Sonoma State University.
Stolman served on the President’s Advisory Council at SSU, on the board of advisors executive committee and on the artistic committee for the Weill Hall at the Green Music Center.
Stolman served as executive vice president and vice chairman of Hospital Affiliates International and is a past president and chairman of the Federation of American Hospitals. He spent many years as a consultant on health care and hospital issues, serving on many charitable boards in the health care industry before coming to Sonoma Valley. In a recent interview, he said that this was one of the most “rewarding” parts of his life.
He is a former board member of the Jewish Museum of San Francisco, and while living in Nashville, Tenn., is credited with saving the historic Merchant’s Hotel from the wrecking ball. He was also instrumental in saving a prominent Victorian house on East Napa Street by purchasing it at public auction, then reselling it. It is currently being restored.
Stolman and his late wife, Carolyn, moved to Sonoma after a visit, proclaiming that it reminded them of Italy, their favorite vacation spot. Unlike other visitors who remained, they did not plant grapes, but olive trees. Starting with 14 trees, their forest grew to more than 1,400 and, after learning the business, Stolman became well known in the world of olive-oil entrepreneurs. He was also on the Olive Oil Advisory Council at U.C. Davis.
Deborah Rogers, a close personal friend, co-founder and business partner with Stolman in The Olive Press, said his passing was not unexpected, “although you’re never really prepared.”
Rogers added, “I have lost a dear friend and longtime business partner. His passion for making olive oil will continue to live on here at The Olive Press. We are all deeply saddened by the loss.”
Details for a memorial service had not been announced at press time. Arrangements are being made by Duggan’s Mission Chapel in Sonoma.