- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Thomas W. Langfitt, the former head of the Pew Charitable Trusts, died Aug. 7 of miliary tuberculosis at his home in Wynnewood, Pa. He was 78.

Mr. Langfitt was president of the Pew trusts from 1987 to 1994 and chief executive of the Glenmede Trust Co., which handles the trusts’ assets, from 1987 to 1995.

A retired neurosurgeon, he served as chairman of the University of Pennsylvania’s neurosurgery department from 1968 to 1987.

Under Mr. Langfitt’s watch, the Pew was transformed from a secretive and little-known enterprise to a more open organization seeking citizen engagement and government reform.

“I have a heavy heart with the loss of my friend and colleague,” said Pew Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Rimel. “He taught us to live every day.”

The seven Pew trusts were created with funds from the children of Sun Oil Co. founder Joseph N. Pew. The trusts’ assets were valued at $4.5 billion as of June 30, and officials are planning to give away $204 million in the coming year.

Mr. Langfitt was born April 20, 1927, in Clarksburg, W.Va. He graduated from Princeton University in 1949 and from Johns Hopkins University medical school in 1953. His involvement with Pew began as an adviser on the trusts’ health-related grants.

After he retired from Pew and Glenmede, Mr. Langfitt returned to his medical roots, becoming president of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and leading the development of the phillyhealthinfo.org online medical information service aimed at improving the poor’s access to health data.

Mr. Langfitt is survived by his wife of 53 years, Carolyn Payne Langfitt; three sons, David Langfitt of Bryn Mawr, Pa., John Langfitt of Rochester, N.Y., and Frank Langfitt of the District; a brother; a sister; and eight grandchildren. A fourth son, Thomas Langfitt Jr., died in 1979.

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