William Williams Keen Butcher, 97, CEO of the former Philadelphia brokerage firm Butcher & Singer, died May 13 at his home in Chestnut Hill.

Mr. Butcher, who went by W.W. Keen, also had been a former chair of the Committee of Seventy, a public watchdog group that he had been active with for 60 years.

He was a philanthropist and a prominent member of the Republican Party who entertained U.S. presidents at his home. He was twice a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

Born in Ardmore, he was a graduate of the Hill School and Williams College. He entered the investment banking field as a “runner” for what was then the firm of Butcher & Sherrerd, which had been co-founded by his father.

During World War II he served as a 2nd lieutenant in Italy and North Africa with the 34th Infantry Division, which was in action for 517 days – the longest of any American division in all wars.

After the war, Mr. Butcher returned to Butcher & Sherrerd, which would become Butcher & Singer, a firm known for its leading role in municipal bond underwriting. He retired in 1984.

Mr. Butcher had been a trustee of Penn Presbyterian Medical Center for 40 years and had been chairman and trustee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He and his late wife, the former Madeleine Kilvert, had been active in community affairs in Chestnut Hill in the early 1970s and made major donations to the Morris Arboretum and other organizations.

He is survived by sons Williams Keen Butcher, Garrett Dunn Pagon, Somers Keen Butcher, Marshall Watters Pagon and Nicholas Abbott Pagon; daughters Noel Butcher Hanley, Madeleine Pagon Brownell and Alexandra Kilvert French; 22 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at noon Wednesday, May 22, at St. Thomas Church Whitemarsh, 610 Church Rd., Fort Washington. Memorial donations may be made to the Madeleine and W.W. Keen Butcher History Institute at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, 1528 Walnut St., Suite 610, Philadelphia, PA 19102. – WF

  • Bob Ligget

    Noel and the others, I’m just learning of this and saddened to read it. I last saw your father at dinner at my mother’s house in Wyndmoor a few years ago. She too has passed away now. What a great man and great legacy. I expect there’s been quite a reunion on the other side.