James J. Stankovic, who rose from being a stock boy to CEO of J. Schoeneman Inc., a Baltimore manufacturer of suits that was founded in 1899, and later became a partner with his son in a popular Pratt Street bar, died Aug. 7 of kidney failure at St. Agnes Hospital. The Catonsville resident was 76.
James John Stankovic, the son of Joseph Stankovic, and his wife, Georgeanne Stankovic, was born in Baltimore and raised on Belair Road in Northeast Baltimore.
He dropped out of Merganthaler Vocational-Technical High School and went to work as a stock boy for J. Schoeneman‚ which produced tailored men’s clothing for such top-flight brands as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman-Marcus, Burberry’s, Ralph Lauren. Nicole Miller and Christian Dior.
Mr. Stankovic later studied at City College, where he earned his General Educational Development diploma and studied industrial management at University of Baltimore.
In 1977, he was promoted to vice president of customer service and six years later, senior vice president of marketing and sales. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1985 and became president in 1987.
In 1992, he was named CEO of Schoeneman/Palm Beach combined companies, and a year later, CEO and president of Plaid Holdings Corp., which became the parent company of Schoeneman/Palm Beach.
After leaving Plaid Holdings Corp. in 1995, he served as president of Six Formal Wear for a year.
Mr. Stankovic, who was known for being a stylish dresser, was called “The Big Guy” because of his large and commanding presence, family members said.
He maintained apartments in Cross Keys and Manhattan, and routinely attended trade shows in Paris, Milan, New York City, Japan, South Korea and Abu Dhabi.
In 1996, he joined his son Philip Stankovic in owning and operating the Downtown Sports Exchange, or DSX, a Pratt Street restaurant and bar, which was a regular destination for those attending Orioles or Ravens games, as well as Inner Harbor tourists and conventioneers.
Mr. Stankovic was an avid golfer who played in the Doral (Florida) Pro Am. He was also an inveterate collector of sports memorabilia and had been the owner of two thoroughbred racehorses.
Other pastimes included gourmet cooking.
Mr. Stankovic who had lived at Baltimore’s Harbor Court for 15 years and moved back to Catonsville some time ago, was diagnosed with kidney disease in later years. In 2007, Gov. Martin J. O’Malley appointed him as Maryland commissioner to the National Kidney Foundation, a position he held until 2016.
A celebration of life service will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sterling-Ashton-Schwab-Witzke Funeral Home of Catonsville, 1630 Edmondson Ave.
Mr. Stankovic is survived by his wife of 28 years, the former Kathleen Coady; a son, Philip Stankovic of Catonsville; twin daughters, Sharon Stankovic of Federal Hill and Lisa Stankovic Druillard of Abingdon; and three grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Jackie McKenzie ended in divorce.