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Edwin E. Tuttle ’49, a longtime friend and generous supporter of Haverford College and a leading philanthropist in the Philadelphia area, died May 19 at the age of 79 at his home in Ventnor, N.J. Tuttle’s extensive history of service to Haverford includes membership on the Board of Managers from 1975-1987 and 1988-1994, as well as involvement with the Haverford Corporation, the Alumni Association Executive Committee, Rufus Jones Associates and the Committee of One Hundred.


“Ed was a good friend to me and a good friend to Haverford College,” says President Tom Tritton. “Whenever we were together I knew I could count on wise counsel, shrewd observations, and a wonderfully ironic sense of humor. Ed Tuttle was the perfect example of a life well lived.”

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Tuttle entered Haverford in 1944 and quickly made a name for himself across campus, joining the Triangle Society and the fencing team and serving as president of his freshman class. George Nofer ’49, who would later become Tuttle’s lawyer and executor of his will, forged a bond with him as two of just seven men who started at Haverford that year, due to the escalation of World War II. “We became good friends,” he says, “as one does at Haverford. We renewed that friendship when we both returned from the service in 1946.” Tuttle served stateside in the Navy for two years before returning to the College to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He then enrolled in Harvard Business School, receiving his M.B.A. in 1951.

Shortly thereafter, Tuttle was hired by the Philadelphia-based Pennwalt Corporation (then called Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company), which produced chemicals for making paper, adhesives and bleach. He began as a student trainee and worked his way up the corporate ladder through a variety of departments, finally becoming CEO in 1978. Peter McCarthy, retired Vice President of Pennwalt and former chairman of the company’s foundation, shared his memories of Tuttle in an editorial for the May 26 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer: “The day in 1987 when I was elected vice president of Pennwalt, Ed called me into his office and gave me these instructions: ‘We are all gentlemen here, and we always act like gentlemen.’”

In 1990, when Pennwalt was acquired by Elf Achotem, it was Tuttle who ensured that the company’s headquarters remained in the Philadelphia area and that the charitable foundation would continue. “He did it for the employees. He did it for the city. And he never, ever told anyone that he did it,” wrote McCarthy. Tuttle retired from Pennwalt later that same year.


Tuttle’s professional success allowed him to devote much of his time—and earnings—to charities and nonprofits throughout the city. He was chairman of the 1982 United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania Campaign, which made fundraising history that year with an all-time high of $32 million. He also joined the Committee to Support the Philadelphia Public Schools. He was especially active with the Pennsylvania Ballet, joining their board in 1977 and becoming chairman in 1983. When the Ballet was forced to suspend operations for a week in 1991, then-chairman emeritus Tuttle brought the group back from the brink by challenging the board to raise funds he agreed to match dollar for dollar.

During his years in Philadelphia, Tuttle began meeting fellow Haverford alumni—including George Nofer—for monthly luncheons, where they reflected, reminisced and renewed friendships. “He was a most pleasant fellow, with good humor, who loved to hear jokes but never told them himself,” says Nofer. “The more you got to know him, the more you realized what a person of integrity he was.”

These gatherings also gave Tuttle and his classmates the opportunity to voice their affection for Haverford and their desire to support their alma mater. “We all came away thinking that Haverford was one of the greatest things in our lives,” says Nofer, “and Ed wanted to express the gratitude so many of us felt for what the College gave us.”

Tuttle became a steadfast contributor to nearly every one of Haverford’s capital campaigns, including the recent “Educating to Lead, Educating to Serve” effort. He chaired the Sesquicentennial Campaign Steering Committee. He was particularly interested in supporting programs and initiatives related to the humanities and the sciences. Along with his own donations, Tuttle enthusiastically encouraged his former classmates and fellow alumni to give back to the College. Tuttle’s service to Haverford did not go unrecognized: In 1999 he received the Charles Perry Award for outstanding fundraising service and in 2000 he was awarded an honorary degree during the Academic Convocation.

“Ed was a tireless advocate for Haverford as a board member and longtime devotee of the humanities,” says Jill Sherman, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “He was thoughtful, warm and engaging in his own low-key, personal way; he always seemed to speak with a twinkle in his eye. We will miss him dearly.”

A memorial service for Ed Tuttle will be held during Volunteer Weekend, Saturday, Sept. 30, from 2:15-3:45 p.m. on campus. A reception will follow.

—Brenna McBride


For more information on Planned Giving at Haverford, please visit our Web site.

The Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College houses 12-inch and 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which are actively used by students in Haverford astronomy classes.

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