Sidney Stark (c.1893-1960) immigrated to New York City from Stanislaw, Poland, in 1905. He married Sadie Abramowitz (1894-1985), who had previously immigrated to the United States from Romania. They had four children, Leah, William, Karl and Sidney Jr.
Stark worked at odd jobs for several years before joining a New York clothing house in the late 1910s. They sent him to Pittsburgh to manage a store at Fifth and Smithfield Streets. He quit after several months, objecting to the working conditions, and went to work for the Ohringer Furniture Store in Braddock. He later started Stark Brothers clothing on Braddock Avenue. The family moved to Swissvale and then settled in Squirrel Hill in 1931.
The Starks were actively involved in socialist politics. Sidney Stark organized for the Ladies Garment Workers Union in New York City in the 1920s and passed out union literature to the steel workers and railroad workers in Hazelwood in the 1930s. Sadie Stark marched with Margaret Sanger in the 1910s and gave private home presentations on birth control to her neighbors in Swissvale. Sidney Stark spoke nine languages which allowed him to translate articles in foreign newspapers. In 1936, concerned about the situation in Europe, he helped convened a meeting of local philanthropists, including Leo Lehman, Leon Falk and Edgar Kaufmann. The meeting led to the formation of the United Jewish Fund, which merged with the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Pittsburgh in 1955 to become the United Jewish Federation.
After his clothing store failed, Sidney Stark started the Penn Overall Supply Company, a three-man commercial laundering enterprise in the Hill District. His son William Stark (1917-2010) joined the company after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh and spending a year at Harvard Law School. William Stark became president of Penn Overall Supply Company in 1950. During his tenure, the company became the largest industrial laundry in the city, operating throughout the tri-state area and employing more than 800 people. Stark took particular pride in hiring workers who had been marginalized by other employers.
About 1968, William Stark and Herman Fineberg donated an old laundry facility on the North Side to the United Jewish Federation. Working with Rev. James Joe Robinson, Stark and Fineberg helped establish the Bidwell Cultural and Training Center Inc. in the building, a job-training and job-placement initiative for African Americans and other minorities.
Stark was involved in many organizations, including the United Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center, various institutions of higher education and many Israeli causes. He was an avid musician throughout his life and played with local orchestras.
William Stark and his wife, Olga Bernstein Stark, had two daughters.