The NSS Life Mission is to provide our fraternal family with a sustainable measure of financial security via life and annuity products; while offering charitable, cultural, social and educational opportunities that benefit our members and their communities.
February 15, 1890 Fulfilling a long held dream of Peter Vitazoslav Rovnianek, on this day the National Slavonic Society of the United States (in 1913, amended to the National SLOVAK Society of the United States of America) was founded. At a meeting held in the Walther’s Hall in Allegheny township, now the North Side of Pittsburgh, PA, delegates from five Slovak societies attended: Stefan Oravec of Hazleton, PA; Anton S. Ambrose of Plymouth, PA; Jan Miller of Cleveland, OH; Reverend Ludvik Novomesky, a Lutheran pastor from Freeland, PA; and Rovnianek who represented Pittsburgh.
Rovnianek, elected as the first president, was determined that the NSS by-laws would assure that the new society would be non-sectarian. “A society where all Slovaks, of whatever religious faith, occupation, gender or locale could gather together for their greater good.” An initial pool of $200.00 was collected by the delegates as a death benefit fund.
December 21, 1894 Judge Edwin H. Stowe decreed that the NSS was incorporated. At the end of 1894 membership had grown to 5,184 with death and sick benefits for 35 men and 20 women.
1925 The height of social membership growth with adult membership at 42,454 and youth membership at 19,179. Only 545 of these were covered by insurance benefits.
1929 The Stock Market crash and the Great Depression had a great effect on the Society. But the greatest problems were internally. First, solvency was only at 84.75% with the goal being 100%. At the 1930 Convention, an ill-advised plan was adopted that assessed each member $55.00 to bring the solvency to 100%. If any member failed to pay, it was deducted from their benefit. Many members just quit. Second, those elected in 1930 began to make questionable mortgage investments that impacted on the financial status of the Society.
November 16, 1933 Peter V. Rovnianek died at home sitting in his rocking chair. He was buried in the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago. His death not only marked the end of an era, but thrust the Society through the Depression and then on to World War II.
1933 With the beginning of the New Deal through World War II, membership in the Society continued to decline, litigation increased, and salvaging property and monetary losses was the all consuming task of the leadership. Adult membership was down to 32,953 members and 14,461 children.
1938 The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and many other states revised their operations with the establishment of the American Experience Table changed the interest rate from 4% to 3½%. In this year the Society was divided into 15 districts.
1939 Czechoslovakia ceased to exist and the emergence of a separate Slovak state brought about division of Slovak fraternals in America. While the Society initially supported Slovak autonomy, as structured independence from all others, the eventful take over by Nazi Germany caused the to Society to condemn the Slovak Republic.
1946 With the end of World War II, there began a change of momentum with the Society to reverse the membership losses. However, membership continued to drop and by the end of 1946 there were 32,656 adult members and 8,214 youth members. The current “Mission Statement” of the Society was adopted at the Youngstown, OH Convention in 1946. At the conclusion of WW II, Slovakia was once again connected to Czech Republic and became a satellite of the Soviet Union.
1950 The efforts of the leadership began to show signs of bearing fruit. Over 6,000 new adult members joined the Society while the youth membership continued to decline. Solvency stood at 104.51%.
1955 The Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner requested the Society to go to “One Fund” accounting replacing the myriad of Society funds on the books. Robert Bruce, our actuary, replaced his father, Harley Bruce. The freezing and eventual liquidation of the solvency liens occurred. The groundwork for the establishment of a field force was laid.
1966 At this year’s convention, Mary T. (Sopocy) Mravec made an appeal to establish the Peter V. Rovnianek permanent scholarship fund. $2,290.00 was collected by the delegates.
1970 The Society Home Office at Court Place, in downtown Pittsburgh, was sold for $800,000 and the Society was given a five year lease. In 1979, Home Office operations were moved to the South Side of Pittsburgh. The Committee of Industrial Organization (C.I.O.) and the United States Steel Local 1271 agreed to accept $102,000 for the building.
1979 The new Model Fraternal Code was adopted in Pennsylvania that required those who wished to sell insurance to be licensed. A “grandfather” clause exempted those members who had received licenses to sell prior to January 29, 1979.
1983 Insurance in force had risen in excess of $25 million, the investment ratio to 8.51% and new premium income increase 85%-the highest in history. A total of 18,126 certificates were in force.
1986 The society hired a full-time marketing director; the 1980 CSO plans of insurance were being adopted; a new Model Fraternal Code in Pennsylvania was being pushed. Assets reached $14 million and insurance in force over $26 million.
February 17, 1990 The 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Society took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Station Square in Pittsburgh, PA where over 700 people attended. At the close of 1990 the Society’s assets were at $32 million and insurance in force grew to $40 million.
1997 The First Slovak Wreath of the Free Eagle, domiciled in Stafford, Connecticut and The Presbyterian Beneficial Union, domiciled in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania joined the NSS.
1998 The Russian Orthodox Catholic Women’s Mutual Aid Society also merged; they were domiciled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The three mergers brought the membership of the Society to over 20,000 members.
1999 The society moved its Home Office from the South Side of Pittsburgh to the Southpointe Industrial/Business Complex near Canonsburg, PA.
2003 The society purchased its own building and once more moved its Home Office to its current site at 351 Valley Brook Road in McMurray, PA.
2008 The National Slovak Society Heritage Museum, located at the Home Office, was dedicated in memory of long-time member Andrew Chengery who, at the 2002 33rd Quadrennial Convention, presented an idea to start an NSS museum.
2014 The Society celebrates its 125th Anniversary with a gala celebration held at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe near Canonsburg, PA.
2016 The National Slovak Society of the USA achieves a historic milestone by reaching $1 BILLION in Assets.
Peter V. Rovnianek 1890-1901
Anton S. Ambrose 1901-1911
Albert Mamatey 1911-1923
Jan Krafcik 1923-1928
Jan Simko 1928-1930
George Tomascik 1930-1934
Adam Poliak 1934-1934
Nicholas Kovac 1934-1937
Jan Pankuch, Sr. 1937-1937
Wendel S. Platek 1937-1954
Paul C. Kazimer 1954-1954
Joseph Saladiak 1954-1954
Jan H. Pankuch 1954-1974
Thomas G. Gmiter 1974-1978
Joseph Stefka 1978-1993
David G. Blazek 1993-