Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America
Peter Aron, Philanthropist
Peter Arthur Aron, a VFS Lifetime Member who joined the Society in 1973, was a charitable foundation executive and private investor. He made his fortune as a commodities trader at his father’s New York import and commodity trading firm, J. Aron & Company, founded in 1898; the younger Aron organized the sale of the company in 1981 to Goldman Sachs for a reported $100M.
Aron was born on May 26, 1946, in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in New York. A 1965 graduate of the Avon Old Farms School boarding school in Avon, Connecticut, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969. He then served two years in Vietnam as a first lieutenant in the Army Transportation Corps. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Department of Defense Joint Service Commendation Medal for meritorious service, among other decorations.
Brilliant, widely read and highly accomplished, Aron applied himself to countless philanthropic efforts. He inherited a love of the sea and maritime activities from his parents; he founded and served for 20 years as President of the South Street Seaport Foundation in New York and served for more than 30 years as Trustee and 10 years as Chairman of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York. He was a Trustee and Corporate Member of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts and Chairman of its board’s Deep Ocean Exploration Committee. In 2008 (shown), the National Maritime Historical Society awarded him its annual David A. O’Neil Sheet Anchor Award for his support of maritime history and preservation projects.
Aron served as a Director and Chairman of the Board of Avon Old Farms School for over 40 years. At Tulane University he served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Administrators, Chairman of its Faculty and Student Affairs Committee, and was a member of the Development Committee. Tulane recognized him as the University’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2000. He also served as a Trustee and Board Officer of The Episcopal School and the Brearley School in New York City.
He was also a Board Member of the Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans. He was a Director and Vice President of the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation, Chairman of its Advisory Council, and a major supporter of research to discover the neurofibromatosis gene, for which he received a Public Service award in 1994. He was a member and trustee of many other organizations and received many awards.
Aron was a licensed helicopter pilot, a certified open water scuba diver, an accomplished sailor, art collector and photographer.
According to his obituary, “Love of his family, friends and a desire to be of service to his community were always the essential features of his character. He cherished his relationships and despite his many interests and accomplishments, Peter’s true love and commitment were reserved for his family and its future. His sense of humor, humility, generosity, loyalty and devotion benefited everyone he knew.”
Peter Arthur died on July 14, 2023 at the age of 77.
Society Update: Vertiflite, November/December 2023