David Signor Stouffer
David Signor Stouffer (1909-June 2,1988). In 1934, Stouffer and his wife, Alberta P. Fischer Stouffer (July 24, 1914-May 26, 1997), founded Stouffer Industries of South Bend, Indiana (dba Stouffer Graphic Arts), which traces its origin to July 1929 when Stouffer opened a commercial photo studio. The studio had expanded to include advertising, design, and printing. Regular clients included Studebaker, Bendix, and Miles Laboratories.
Always the innovator, Stouffer submitted color photographs of the Indianapolis 500 to the Professional Photographers of America in 1935, only to have them rejected because there was no class for judging color.
He designed and built the Paralt Photo Contact Printer and, by 1938, was making the McIntire Printer. In the 1940s and 1950s, his attention shifted to the pressroom and prepress. Mr. Stouffer became involved in developing and producing control devices and instruments to improve quality, save labor, and minimize scrap material. He held patents on photographic printers, processors, timers, a press sheet scanner, and densitometers.
The tradition continues into the 21st century in this closely-held American company. Innovation is essential to the company culture, where new products are being developed and protected by patents or copyrights.
David Signor Stouffer was born to George Earl and Meta Lulu (Signor) Stouffer. He had a sister Marion E. Currier (Nov. 24, 1910 – May 4, 2000), of South Bend. In May 1934, he married Alberta P. Fischer Stouffer (July 24, 1914 – May 26, 1997). They had two daughters, Joann Stouffer Baumgardner (d. May 1989) and Phyllis Stouffer Hamel of South Bend, In, They also had four sons, Roger D. Stouffer and John D. Stouffer, both of South Bend, William G. Stouffer of Medina, Ohio, and Tracy Stouffer of Alaska; 11 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren.
Stouffer’s original family name was spelled Stauffer, going back to Sir Wolfgang Stauffer (1412-1460), who was born in Röthenbach, Emmental, Signau District, Canton of Bern, Switzerland. In 1688, the spelling was changed by Jacob Stover (1688-1741). In 1740 Jacob Hess Stauffer changed the spelling back to Stauffer. In 1780 Jacob Stoffer changed the name again. And finally, in 1874, George Earl Stouffer (David Stouffer’s father) changed it to Stouffer.