James W. Stratton, 75, of Blue Bell, a retired investment adviser, died Wednesday, April 18, from complications of lung cancer at a hospital in Boca Grande, Fla.

Mr. Stratton founded Stratton Management Co. in 1972 and ran it for 35 years. He created the Stratton Holding Co. for a variety of mutual funds the same year. The best known is the Stratton Growth Fund, a no-load mutual fund.

Stratton Management advised individual and institutional clients on investment and wealth management, and was known for its value-oriented investment philosophy, meaning it advised putting money into companies with long-term growth potential over those anticipating quick market gains.

Stratton Management also was known for its Stratton Letter, which summarized the economic climate and outlook.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Stratton graduated from Central High School in 1954.

He received his bachelor's degree in geophysics in 1958 from Pennsylvania State University in 1958 and his master's degree from Harvard Business School in 1960.

That year, Mr. Stratton joined the Philadelphia-based investment counseling firm of Cooke & Bieler, where he became a vice president and then a director. In 1965, he joined Drexel & Co. in the investment advisory department. By 1970, he was elected president and chief executive officer of Drexel Firestone Inc.

Mr. Stratton served on various boards, including those of UGI Corp., SEI Corp., Quaker Chemical, Teleflex, and Alco Standard. He was the youngest person since 1826 to be appointed a university trustee of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Stratton served as chairman of the board from 1990 to 1994, and received Jefferson's Award of Merit in 2008 for service and contribution to the university.

In addition to running his firms, Mr. Stratton and his family raised Christmas trees on their property in Blue Bell.

"It was a cut-your-own farm, and his favorite part was watching the kids and their parents select the trees," said his daughter, Caroll Beers. He also enjoyed reading. "His keen intellect and no-nonsense personality will be sorely missed," his daughter said.

He met his wife, the former Arlene Mostertz, in high school. They were married for 54 years.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by two other daughters, Sue McGinnis and Jeanne Jenkins; a brother, Frank "Bud"; and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 27, at Central Schwenkfelder Church, 2111 Valley Forge Rd., Lansdale. A visitation will precede the service from 10 to 11:30.

Contributions may be made to the Stratton Memorial Fund, Jefferson Foundation, 925 Chestnut St., Suite 110, Philadelphia 19107.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com. Read her blog, "MontCo Memo," at www.philly.com.