J. Howard Pew
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J. Howard Pew

J. Howard Pew
Born(1882-01-27)January 27, 1882
Bradford, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedNovember 27, 1971(1971-11-27) (aged 89)
Ardmore, Pennsylvania, United States
Resting placeWest Laurel Hill Cemetery
EducationGrove City College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EmployerSun Oil Company
Known forThe Pew Charitable Trusts

John Howard Pew (1882-1971) was an American philanthropist and president of Sunoco (Sun Oil Company).


J. Howard Pew was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1882 and raised as a devout Presbyterian. In 1886 Pew's father, Joseph Newton Pew, Sr. (1848-1912) started an oil business in Pennsylvania, expanding to Texas when oil was discovered near Beaumont in 1901. This company became known as the Sun Oil Company. J. Howard Pew attended Shady Side Academy, Grove City College, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then worked as a refinery engineer for one of his father's companies. In 1912 with his brother Joseph N. Pew, Jr., J. Howard Pew took over management of the Sun Oil Company (now known as Sunoco) improving the company's refining, marketing and distribution systems, and buying or developing energy production operations.[1] In 1934, he purchased and reorganized the Chilton Company, a publisher of several national magazines.[2] He was an early sponsor and director of Christianity Today from 1956 until his death.[3] He was a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

Athabaska Oil Sands

In a 2013 address to the Canadian Association of Lifelong Learners, Peter McKenzie-Brown of the Petroleum History Society listed industrialist J. Howard Pew as one of the six visionaries who built the oil sands, along with chemist Karl Clark; Premier Ernest Manning; US corporate executive Frank Spragins; Premier Peter Lougheed; and Suncor's former chairman and CEO Rick George.[4]

With Pew's support, in 1962 Sun Oil's majority-owned subsidiary, Great Canadian Oil Sands (GCOS), filed an application for a commercial oil sands project in Canada - the first ever constructed. In 1967, Pew told his audience at opening ceremonies for the Great Canadian Oil Sands plant that "No nation can long be secure in this atomic age unless it be amply supplied with petroleum... It is the considered opinion of our group that if the North American continent is to produce the oil to meet its requirements in the years ahead, oil from the Athabasca area must of necessity play an important role."[5] Today, GCOS is known as the Suncor oilsands plant.

He was awarded the Vermilye Medal in 1950.

J. Howard Pew died in Ardmore, Pennsylvania in 1971.


With his siblings, Pew was a co-founder of The Pew Charitable Trusts. J. Howard Pew also donated the funds for the J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust in 1957.[6] Pew provided early funding to support Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, working closely with Billy Graham and Harold Ockenga.[1] Pew also donated to various other organizations, including the Foundation for Economic Education, American Liberty League and Barry Goldwater presidential campaign, 1964. Pew also made a one-time $1000 gift to the Liberty Lobby.[7]


  1. ^ a b John Howard Pew, Mary Sennholz, Faith and freedom: the journal of a great American, J. Howard Pew, By John Howard Pew, Mary Sennholz (Grove City College, 1975)
  2. ^ Shook, Steve. "Chilton Printing Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Postcard". Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ American Council of Learned Societies. Kenneth T. Jackson, editor in chief. (1994). Dictionary of American biography. Supplement 9. New York : Scribner. ISBN 0-684-19398-1. p. 612
  4. ^ McKenzie-Brown, Peter (January 22, 2013), "Six visionaries who built the modern oil sands", The Petroleum History Society, Canadian Association of Lifelong Learners and, Calgary, Alberta, retrieved 2015
  5. ^ McKenzie-Brown, Peter; Jaremko, Gordon; Finch, David (1993), The Great Oil Age, Calgary: Detselig Enterprises Ltd.
  6. ^ The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, J. Howard Pew
  7. ^ Pearson, Drew (October 29, 1966). "Liberty Lobby is a Dangerous Group". The Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, VA. p. 4. Retrieved 2017 – via Google News Archive.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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