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George Thompson Pew Jr., businessman and longtime director at Glenmede Trust, dies at 79

Personable and accomplished, he was a family man with a wide range of interests.

Away from work, Mr. Pew was involved with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Devon Horse Show, the Academy of Music Ball, and the Philadelphia Charity Ball.
Away from work, Mr. Pew was involved with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Devon Horse Show, the Academy of Music Ball, and the Philadelphia Charity Ball.Read moreCourtesy of the family

George Thompson Pew Jr., 79, a businessman, longtime director and chairman at the Glenmede Trust Co., and great-grandson of the founder of Sun Oil Co., died Thursday, Nov. 18, from renal failure at home in Bryn Mawr.

A member of the Pew family that is widely known for its Philadelphia lineage, philanthropy, and the Pew Charitable Trusts, Mr. Pew was on the boards at the Philadelphia-based Glenmede Corp. and the Glenmede Trust Co. He was chairman of the compensation and nominating committees at Glenmede Trust and chairman of the Glenmede Fund Inc. and the Glenmede Portfolios.

An executive who served as president of several other companies, he was a member of the Association of Master of Business Administration and worked most recently as an independent financial consultant.

“He loved to learn,” said his daughter Alexis Clarke Pew. ”And he was knowledgeable about so many things.”

Active in the community as well, Mr. Pew was a board member of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, a committee member of the Devon Horse Show, chair of the Academy of Music Ball, and president and honorary director of the Philadelphia Charity Ball.

He also was a longtime member of the Philadelphia Club, the Union League of Philadelphia, Merion Cricket Club, Gulph Mills Golf Club, Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, and the State in Schuylkill.

“Tommy was a wonderful man,” a friend wrote in a Facebook tribute. “Sweet guy,” another said. “He will be sorely missed,” said another.

Mr. Pew’s great-grandfather was Joseph Newton Pew, the founder of Sun Oil. His grandfather J. Howard Pew was president and chairman of Sunoco and, with Mr. Pew’s great-uncle and great-aunts, founded Pew Charitable Trusts. Mr. Pew’s father, George Thompson Pew, helped found and was chairman of the Aero Design & Engineering Co.

Born March 25, 1942, in Bryn Mawr to George Thompson Pew and Constance Clarke Pew, Mr. Pew grew up in Oklahoma after his father moved to Oklahoma City in 1950. He was especially close to his sister, Margaret Pew Moorhouse, and they enjoyed traveling together.

He attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., and then graduated from the Casady School in Oklahoma City. He graduated from Yale University in 1965 and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1971.

Mr. Pew was a first lieutenant in the Army and served mostly in Germany from 1966-69. After an earlier marriage ended in divorce, Mr. Pew married Sandra Lee Kennedy in 1982.

“He always embraced his family,” said his son George III. “He was a patient person. He helped with problems and shared his wisdom.”

A storyteller at heart, Mr. Pew liked to talk about his adventures as a traveler and sailor. He read books of all sorts and usually found time to finish his daily crossword puzzle. He and his wife took their children to shows and boat races, and he encouraged them in their pursuits.

“He was a great parent,” his daughter said.

Mr. Pew was the former commodore of the Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia and belonged to Bay Head Yacht Club of New Jersey and Gibson Island Yacht Club of Maryland.

“He liked to be at the Shore and near water,” his son said. “He had a lot of energy, and he focused on being happy.”

In addition to his daughter, son, wife, and sister, Mr. Pew is survived by daughter Christina Constance Pew, son Jameson Edward Delk Pew, two grandchildren, former wife Claudia DuBois, and other relatives.

A memorial celebration was held Tuesday, Nov. 30.