Howard I. Stein, 96, the founder of RiteCheck in 1949 and the Check Cashers Association of New York in 1957, died Tuesday, Feb. 7, at his home in Scarsdale.
Stein, who was born in Brooklyn in 1920 and lived in Scarsdale since 1967, served with General Douglas MacArthur during WWII, used the money he had saved during the war to purchase a half-interest in a check cashing store on West 135th St. in Harlem.
Over the next 67 years, Stein parlayed that first small investment into a 13-store chain known nationally for its innovative approach to alternative financial services. The NY association he founded continues working as an advocate for the industry he helped to create.
In addition to his career in banking, Stein was also a respected collector of Italian Renaissance ceramics known as Maiolica. He donated his collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2001. The Philadelphia Museum of Art said of Stein's collection that it was "the finest collection in private hands in the United States."
Stein served on the boards of the Bronx Community College Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and as a Friend of the Israeli Philharmonic.
He is survived by his domestic partner Beverly Spitzer, his three children, Judith, Charles and Jonathan, and six grandchildren. He was much beloved by the 130 employees who still work in his thriving business.
"Howard Stein epitomized the spirit of service and caring that it takes to be a check casher and to build a community business like RiteCheck. Through his long-standing dedication and support of our state and national associations he also sought to raise the standards of the entire industry to meet the standards he required of RiteCheck," said Edward P. D'Alessio, executive director of the Financial Service Centers of America.
Services were held on Sunday at the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale.
Contributions may be made to the BCC Foundation in tribute or to a charity of your choice.