J. Howard Pew

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John Howard Pew (1882-1971), "born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, on January 27, 1882, as the second son of Joseph N. and Mary Anderson Pew, graduated from Grove City College at the age of 18 and went to work for the Sun Company. He was so diligent in the company laboratories that he sometimes slept there at night, in order to get right back to work in the morning at the formulas and processes he was developing. Among his research credits are the first commercially successful petroleum asphalt (which was also Sun's first trademarked product) and a lubricating oil superior to its competitors.

"J. Howard Pew succeeded his father as president of the Sun Company in 1912, when he was only 30 years old. He took a broad view of its business, ranging from producing, refining, marketing and transporting the company's products. When automobiles became important, he made the company a world leader in gasoline production. He was instrumental in expanding the company into shipbuilding, which proved vital in supporting American forces through two world wars and in extending the national and international enterprises. Sun's prosperity also provided the underpinnings for the family philanthropy.

"J. Howard Pew's business and personal philosophies were closely linked, based on a strong Christian faith and a commitment to democratic ideals. He bitterly opposed the cartelization of the oil industry as well as all attempts at price fixing. He strongly supported the political freedoms that encouraged free competition in enterprise and promoted individual involvement in civic affairs. He chaired the board of Grove City College for decades and was a generous, though anonymous, donor. He was a faithful Presbyterian who participated in the affairs of his church, both locally and nationally.

"He believed fiercely in the rights and freedom of the individual... When J. Howard Pew died, in 1971, the Rev. Billy Graham assisted the Rev. William Faulds, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore, in the funeral service. In the words of Dr. Faulds, His generosity has been felt by many. Because of his foresightedness it will be felt for generations to come." [1]

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  1. Pew Charitable Trusts History, organizational web page, accessed February 15, 2012.