In Memoriam: Joseph N. Pew IV, M.D., 1946–2017


Trust Magazine Summer 2017

For three decades, J.N. Pew IV, M.D. fulfilled a family legacy in his service to The Pew Charitable Trusts. Sitting on the board of the institution that bears his name, he was following a tradition that began with his grandfather J.N. Pew Jr., who, along with his brother and two sisters, established the Trusts to honor their parents, Joseph N. Pew and Mary Anderson Pew. That tradition was carried on by Dr. Pew’s father, Joseph N. Pew III, one of the Trusts’ original directors.

On June 10, 2017, Dr. Pew passed away. He left his mark not only in his contributions to the success of Pew and its initiatives, which now span the globe, but also in a long professional life as a medical doctor in Reading, Pennsylvania.

And his generation of the family continues its service to Pew, with four of his siblings currently on the board of directors: J. Howard Pew II; Mary Catharine Pew, M.D.; Doris Pew Scott; and James S. Pew.

Dr. Pew was born in 1946 in Palo Alto, California, where his father was completing studies at Stanford University after service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Not long afterward, his father and mother, Doris (Myers) Pew, moved the family to the Philadelphia area. His father worked as an engineer for Sun Oil Co., which had been founded by Joseph N. Pew in 1880.

Like his father, J.N. Pew IV graduated from the Haverford School. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from Nova Scotia Technical College and later graduated with a doctorate in internal medicine from the University of Pennsylvania.

He was the owner of Reading Crest Medical Associates, where he practiced medicine for 27 years, retiring in 2009. 

An avid sportsman, Dr. Pew loved hunting and fishing, was a member of Blooming Grove Hunting and Fishing Club in the Poconos, and also collected model trains.

He was married to Dianne Renee (Weber) Pew. His family remembers Dr. Pew as keenly intelligent, with a mischievous sense of humor. He was thoughtful, kind, and unfailingly generous, they recall, always willing to give help or advice to anyone who asked. Above all else, he loved his family. Family members say he was an adoring husband, a loving older brother, an extraordinary father and stepfather, and a doting grandfather who always made sure he had extra time for his grandchildren.

Dr. Pew was chairman of the board of the Glenmede Trust Co., which serves as trustee of the seven Pew trusts, and since 1988 had served on Pew’s board of directors. His tenure covered a transformational time for the institution, which would evolve from a traditional foundation providing grants into its current role as a global nonprofit.

“Joe was devoted to this institution,” says Rebecca W. Rimel, Pew’s president and CEO. “I deeply valued his wisdom, his commitment to stewarding our values, and his willingness to challenge us to do our very best work on behalf of the Trusts and our public service mission.”

The Pew staff offers its condolences to Dr. Pew’s family and resolves to carry on the essential work of the organization that made him so proud: utilizing the power of knowledge to help solve today’s most pressing problems.