Harry R. Halloran Jr., 82, of Villanova, a socially conscious businessman, inspired theologist, and eclectic philanthropist, died at his home Saturday, Dec. 18, of complications due to a stroke.
Driven by his eternal optimism, active mind, and a desire to, in his words, “create the world we all want,” Mr. Halloran used his West Conshohocken-based Halloran Philanthropies to fund research and action in the improvement of what he called “the human condition across various areas of health, education, and livelihood.”
“There’s a role of business that goes beyond profitability,” Mr. Halloran told The Inquirer in 2008. “My understanding of that led me to the awareness of what is called business ethics but what I like to call the positive impact of business on society.”
The chairman and chief executive officer of Villanova-based American Refining Group, which manufactures petroleum extracts and resins oil at its Northwestern Pennsylvania refinery, Mr. Halloran was also a vociferous supporter of wind energy and other renewable energy sources.
He and Tony Carr, a fellow businessman and philanthropist, founded Halloran Philanthropies in 2007 with a mission to “inspire, innovate and accelerate sustainable social interventions that promote human well-being.” In 2016, Halloran Philanthropies received the World Betterment Award from the Indiana-based Quality of Life Institute.
“As a businessman, I have been fortunate to be associated with colleagues who are committed to making the world a better place,” Mr. Halloran wrote in the forward to the 2017 book The Pursuit of Human Well-Being: The Untold Global History.
He was also the founder and CEO of Energy Unlimited Inc.; Frontier Wind LLC; and ARB, a green technology investment firm. At Energy Unlimited, he specialized in the development of wind energy and the management of wind energy projects.
In 2012, Mr. Halloran contributed $250,000 to the Energy Institute at the Bradford, Pa., campus of the University of Pittsburgh, and the organization, noting his “astute guidance and insight as we venture into an area we’ve never pursued before,” was renamed the American Refining Group/Harry R. Halloran Jr. Energy Institute.
“There are few people who possess as much knowledge, experience and proven track record in both the oil and gas industry and alternative energy systems as does Harry Halloran,” Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford, said at the time. Pitt-Bradford also awarded Mr. Halloran with its Presidential Medal of Distinction in 2008.
Born Aug. 24, 1939, in Philadelphia, Mr. Halloran graduated from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, and then the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He earned a master’s degree in theology from an Augustinian seminary, taught theology, and worked as a teacher, social worker, and volunteer for VISTA.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Halloran left his teaching and social work pursuits to help manage his family’s businesses, many of which were founded by his father, Harry R. Halloran, a major figure in the Philadelphia construction industry throughout the 1900s. But he never left his social activism behind.
He was on the boards of the American Wind Energy Association, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Franklin Institute, the Eisenhower Fellowships, the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, and other groups. He was also a trustee at Villanova University, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the Enlightened World Foundation, and other places.
Mr. Halloran married Patricia O’Halloran, and they had sons Kevin, Mark, Neil, and Brian. After a divorce, he married Kay Kelly in 1999, and they blended their family of eight children “through love,” she said.
The youngest member of a Vesper Boat Club senior eight crew that included Jack Kelly Jr. and finished second at the 1958 European Championships, Mr. Halloran was an avid reader who liked to thumb through nonfiction while lounging in the sun.
He listened to classical music, took ski trips to Aspen, hiked in the mountains of Maine, and exercised on speed walks. “He was a big thinker and a kind soul,” said his son Neil. “He pursued so many interests, launched so many ventures, and impacted so many lives.”
In addition to his wife, children, and former wife, Mr. Halloran is survived by two brothers, 10 grandchildren, and other relatives. A brother died earlier.
A visitation is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 2, at St. Thomas of Villanova Church at Villanova University, 800 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova, Pa. 19085. A Funeral Mass is to follow at 10 a.m. Interment is private.