Robert Anderson “Andy” Pew



Bryn Mawr, Pa and Northeast Harbor

Robert Anderson “Andy” Pew, 85, a leader of business and charitable causes and great-grandson of the founder of Sun Oil Corp., died Saturday, June 25, at Bryn Mawr Hospital from complications of prostate cancer.

A scion of the family known for its Philadelphia lineage and widely respected for its philanthropy, Mr. Pew had served as chairman of the Pew Charitable Trusts and was a longtime director of the Glenmede Trust Co. He was the last remaining member of the Pew family to be involved in Sun Oil.

Throughout his life, Mr. Pew was an active, disciplined and knowledgeable participant in the greater Philadelphia community, serving as trustee of numerous organizations including his alma mater Temple University, the Academy of Music, Curtis Institute, Bryn Mawr College and Bryn Mawr Hospital, among others. In 1968, after his daughter Lili was successfully treated for a life-threatening illness at Children’s Hospital, he joined their board, motivated by gratitude and an appreciation for the unparalleled level of care there.

Among his civic activities, he was on the committee involved in planning the Philadelphia Bicentennial in 1976. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Brandywine Conservancy, and as a personal friend to the Wyeth family was also involved in founding the Brandywine River Museum. Notably, Mr. Pew was proud of his volunteer work with young gang members in Philadelphia during the 1970s. He was a proud and humble mentor to so many, always asking questions instead of providing answers, inspiring curiosity and asking only in return to leave the door open wider than it had been found. Mr. Pew had no tolerance for unfinished business, and as such could be heard remarking “this sounds like a major symphony ending with one note on a piccolo” as the situation called for.

A longtime pilot, Mr. Pew for decades owned a Piper Comanche, which he bought in 1965 and piloted until just a few years ago. He was a trustee and chairman of the board of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for 44 years, making him the organization’s longest-serving member.

Mr. Pew was a member of the Merion Cricket Club, the Union League and the Philadelphia Aviation Country Club.

Born at the old Lankenau Hospital on Aug. 22, 1936, Robert Anderson Pew was the son of Arthur E. Pew Jr. and Mary Elliott Pew. After his parents’ divorce, Andy, as he liked to be called, moved with his mother to Long Island and grew up there. He graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., and attended Princeton before graduating from Temple University in 1959. Later in life, he received a master’s degree in science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Sloan Fellow.

While still in College, Mr. Pew worked in Sun Oil’s Marcus Hook refinery, and after graduation, spent time in the company’s production facilities in Texas and Louisiana and in 1960, he moved to Sun’s Philadelphia office. He married Joan Ferguson Pew in 1958 and had four children before divorcing after 22 years.

At Sun, Mr. Pew worked his way up from the auditing and treasury departments to the products group, eventually becoming the company’s corporate secretary and later, a member of Sun’s board of directors. Along the way, in an effort to foster diversification within the company, he formed the Helios Capital Corp. as a successful leveraged leasing subsidiary.

Mr. Pew married Daria Decerio Pew in 1993 and lived in Bryn Mawr with their son. The family had a second home, “Inchcape,” in Northeast Harbor, where he loved spending time together with his family sailing on his classic A-Class gaff rigged sloop “Gull,” one of only two of its kind remaining in the world. He was a member of The Harbor Club, The Seal Harbor Yacht Club and the Northeast Harbor Fleet. In Maine, he had served as a long time Board Member of the Jackson Laboratory, in Bar Harbor.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Pew is survived by three sons and a daughter. They include James Cunningham Pew of Colorado; Glenn Edgar Pew (Robin) of Haverford, Pa.; Joan “Lili” Pew (Carol Bult) of Seal Harbor; and Richard Westerman Pew of Bryn Mawr, Pa., and numerous nieces and nephews and extended Pew family members. His family and friends were continuously impressed with his encyclopedic knowledge, quick wit and ability to come up with an original quip for any situation.

He was predeceased by his parents and a son, Robert Anderson Pew, Jr., and by his brother, Arthur E. Pew III.

Funeral services are private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (https://chop.edu/andypew).

Know when to pay your respects.