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Betty K. Musser, 91, philanthropist - philly-archives

Betty K. Musser, 91, philanthropist

Betty K. Musser
Betty K. Musser
Posted: February 14, 2015

Betty K. Musser, 91, of Newtown Square, a philanthropist, died Tuesday, Feb. 3, of respiratory failure due to pneumonia at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Mrs. Musser, whose maiden name was Umstad, was born in Pittsburgh. She lived in Villanova and earned a bachelor's degree in biology at Ursinus College.

She was married for 43 years to Warren V. "Pete" Musser, a venture capitalist and major philanthropist in the Philadelphia area. He was founder and CEO of the Wayne-based Safeguard Scientifics Inc. The two divorced; he survives.

Mrs. Musser's philanthropic activities reflected her varied interests. She used her science background to work as a nurse with the Red Cross, volunteering in Korea and later advocating with her former husband for creation of the Musser Blood Center at 700 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia.

"She worked on the Bloodmobile," said her son Peter U. Musser.

She was passionate about Philadelphia's arts and culture. "She loved going to the ballet, and donated to the Pennsylvania Ballet," her family said in a statement.

She cofounded the guide program and acted as benefactor for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She supported the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation.

In the suburbs, she donated a room for art display at the Wayne Art Center and served on the board of the People's Light and Theater Company in Malvern.

She was a generous supporter of her alma mater, serving on the board for many years and spearheading the new Musser Dormitory building project, and creation of the Kaleidoscope Theatre, the Berman Museum, and the Center for Bees. The college responded by bestowing upon her an honorary doctorate of letters.

Mrs. Musser was a 40-year member of the Main Line Unitarian Church, where she created a resource room for children. She taught at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and supported its wildlife center, which treats injured animals and, when well, returns the creatures to the wild.

She loved playing golf, reading, and spending summers in the Poconos.

Surviving, beside her son, are a daughter, Joan Vaughan; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Another son, Craig, died in 1986.

A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13, at the Main Line Unitarian Church, 816 S. Valley Forge Rd., Devon. Interment is private.

Contributions may be made to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagys Mill Rd., Philadelphia, Pa. 19128, or to the Wayne Art Center, 413 Maplewood Ave., Wayne, Pa. 19087.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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