Thomas W. Stuart, 83, of Villanova, a retired engineering consultant and volunteer who helped children, died last Tuesday at Bryn Mawr Hospital of heart failure.

Mr. Stuart was a mentor at the Meade School in North Philadelphia and recently initiated a campaign to start a school orchestra there. He was involved with Rotary International's 100 Book Challenge to encourage young people to read and with its Ambassadorial Scholarships, which fund several hundred scholarships annually for study abroad to further international understanding.

Every fall, Mr. Stuart flipped pancakes for the Ardmore Firehouse-Rotary Pancake Jamboree, his daughter Pam said. He was also a member of the Exton Rotary Club.

As a teenager, Mr. Stuart attended a summer art school in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He returned to the town often to volunteer with the Patronato Pro Niño Foundation, an organization that provides medical and dental care to needy children. He donated much of his time in Mexico to the clinic for hearing-impaired youngsters because he felt it was so important, his daughter Leslie Matthews said. Mr. Stuart involved Rotary International in fund-raising for Patronato Pro Niño.

A graduate of the Haverford School, Mr. Stuart earned a bachelor's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs at Princeton University and took courses in engineering. He served in the Naval Reserve after World War II.

He worked for an engineering consulting company and operated a lumber company in Frazer before starting his own engineering consulting firm, T.W. Stuart Associates, in Haverford in the late 1950s. He retired five years ago but continued to be involved in business interests, his daughter Pam said.

Mr. Stuart enjoyed coin collecting and Civil War and naval history. For years he and friends met regularly for lunch at the Union League in Philadelphia. When it became difficult for them to travel in town, they changed the venue to the Merion Cricket Club. He lunched with the group just a week before he died, his daughter Pam said.

In addition to his daughters, Mr. Stuart is survived by his wife of 59 years, Joan Borden Stuart, and five grandchildren. A daughter, Patricia Bugay, died in 2007.

A memorial celebration will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Merion Cricket Club, 325 Montgomery Ave., Haverford.

Memorial donations may be made to Ardmore Rotary Foundation, Box 5, Ardmore, Pa. 19003.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.