William Anthony Hitschler, 82, of Villanova, an investment adviser, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, died June 28, at the City of Hope Hospital in Pasadena, Calif., where he was being treated for leukemia.
Mr. Hitschler was diagnosed last November and moved in December to undergo a bone marrow stem cell transplant. The transplant succeeded; he died of a heart ailment, said his wife, Lynn Leonard Claytor Hitschler.
Born in Chestnut Hill, he graduated from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and then Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He completed training to become a certified financial analyst at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
An investment adviser with more than a half-century of experience, Mr. Hitschler was an early proponent of value investing, a strategy that identifies companies with stocks trading below their intrinsic value and invests in them, with the hope that stock prices will rise.
He wrote a defining paper on value investing that led to his appointment as president and CEO of Provident Capital Management, an affiliate of Provident National Bank. When five of the six equity analysts left the firm in 1980, taking their accounts with them, Mr. Hitschler stayed on to rebuild the shattered company.
In 1986, Mr. Hitschler left Provident Capital – by that time in good shape – to create Brandywine Asset Management and become its president.
“I guess my success contained the seeds of my dissatisfaction,” he told The Inquirer in June 1986. “The bigger we got [at Provident], the more I found myself handling administration and not managing investments.”
None of Brandywine’s clients was raided from Provident Capital. “It wouldn’t be fair,” Mr. Hitschler said. His friend Martin Heckscher, a lawyer, said Mr. Hitschler “was an honorable person with total integrity.”
The Wilmington-based Brandywine company focused on large- and small-cap funds, said a 2006 report in the Philadelphia Business Journal. Later, it added fixed-income funds and international value funds.
In 1998, Brandywine was bought out by Legg Mason Inc. The firm became Brandywine Global Investment Management, an independent subsidiary of Legg Mason based in Philadelphia.
The sale allowed Mr. Hitschler to turn his attention to philanthropy. As a member of the Investors’ Circle Philadelphia, he sought out entrepreneurs building companies with a clear social or environmental conscience.
He believed in education and providing transformative learning experiences for all children, regardless of their background.
As the chair of the education nonprofit Friends of Big Picture Philadelphia, Mr. Hitschler championed Vaux Big Picture High School. The public school in North Philadelphia puts students on a track to attend college or find meaningful work.
“He identified local companies who would accept students as apprentices in their given field of enterprise,” his wife said. “By the time they graduated, they could go right on to working.”
He lived according to the principle, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do,” she said.
He volunteered his time to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Willistown Conservation Trust, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and Willistown Friends Meeting. He was board chairman for the Overbrook School for the Blind.
A life-long learner, “Tony,” as he was known, knew how to have a good time. He enjoyed tennis, golf, skiing, sailing, fly fishing, music, and fine wine. He had a 38-foot sailboat called Sabre Dancer.
One of his favorite places was Squam Lake, N.H., where he had vacationed since childhood. Another was a home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he taught most of his grandchildren and nieces to ski.
Mr. Hitschler was married three times, first to Diana Timmerman in 1960, then to Diana Cecala, and in 2000 to Lynn Leonard Claytor. He and his wife, Lynn, traveled the world from Antarctica to Egypt.
Besides his wife and former wives, he is survived by children Sandra Thompson and Pam Nagy; stepchildren Eric and Hugh Peterson, as well as Tom, Brannon, and Warren Claytor, and Cassandra Carroll; 18 grandchildren; two sisters; and three nieces. A daughter, Wendy Rehn Hitschler, died in 2018.
Plans for a life celebration were pending.
Memorial donations may be made to Vaux Big Picture High School, PMB 884, 702 N. Third St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19123.