Charles E. ”Peter” Mather III, 86, died Sept. 21 after a long illness. Born and raised in Chestnut Hill, he was a resident of East Falls at the time of his death.
Mr. Mather attended Chestnut Hill Academy (now Springside Chestnut Hill Academy) and graduated from St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH in 1952. He graduated from Harvard College in 1956 and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1959.
Professionally, he spent most of his career as president of Mather & Co., an Insurance Brokerage founded in 1873 by his great grandfather. Mather & Co. was one of the first American Insurance brokers at the Lloyds of London Market.
Much of his business was conducted in London, where he enjoyed the culture, the arts and horse racing, which was a family passion on both sides of the Atlantic. Reflecting his strong ties with England, Mr. Mather served as Honorary British Counsel in Philadelphia from 1983 to 1998.
A respected businessman, he served as a member of the boards of the Central Penn National Bank, the Finance Company of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Belt Line Railroad.
An avid and active supporter of the arts, Peter Mather served on and chaired many non-profit boards: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Print Club, the Fleisher Art Memorial, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania among them.
Penny Balkin, executive director of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmont Park Art Association) said that “Mr. Mather was the longest serving president of the Association … for 28 years from 1985-2013.”
Timothy Rub, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said in a letter to the trustees, “If I were to single out members of our Board of Trustees who exemplified the phrase ‘civic engagement,’ Peter [Mather] would certainly have been high on my list. His commitment to the arts and to many of Philadelphia’s cultural institutions—most notably the museum and the Association for Public Art, which he also served as the chairman of its Board of Trustees—was strong and unequivocal. So, too, was his enthusiasm, which never waned, for playing an active role in the life of the museum: as a generous donor, a wise counselor, and by participating frequently in the many programs and events we offer to our members. In this regard, he led by example and was, in my view, a model trustee.”
Mr. Mather was also passionate about horse racing. His family’s racing colors, scarlet and gold, are the second oldest in America. He loved to watch the horses run anywhere from Philadelphia Park to Ascot.
He spent many summers in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he served as chairman of the board of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, president of the Reading Rooms and a vice president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. While not much of a rider himself, his equine interests won the Man O’War at Belmont, the Radnor Hunt Cup and the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Mr. Mather is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary MacGregor Mather; two children: Charles E. IV (Elizabeth) of New York City and Dorothy Mather Ix (Raymond) of Wyndmoor; four grandchildren; a brother, Victor C. Mather (Mimi) of Chestnut Hill; and a sister, Katie Scalamandre (Gino, deceased) of Surfside, Fl.
His funeral services are private. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Donations in his memory may be made to The Philadelphia Museum of Art, PO Box 7646, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130 or by visiting www.philamuseum.org or to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts School Committee by visiting www.pafa.org.