A son, J. Peter Sr., said in a Thursday interview that "he was a great man. He created tremendous opportunities for many, many people," both in his business and in his philanthropies.
"He always had a very strong belief that business is 90 percent people and 10 percent economics."
The son is now chief executive officer of Pioneer Capital L.L.P., an asset-management and private-equity firm in Conshohocken.
In 1999, Iron Mountain Inc. of Boston announced the purchase of its largest rival, Pierce Leahy, for $1.2 billion in stock and assumed debt, The Inquirer reported.
Pierce Leahy today is an entity within Iron Mountain, without a presence in the region, his son said.
The two firms had been expanding by buying smaller rivals in the United States, where, it was reported, companies spent roughly $5 billion a year to store records.
The company became Pierce Leahy in 1990 after Pierce Business Archives of Folcroft, Delaware County, acquired Leahy Business Archives of New York for $36 million.
The 1990 report of the acquisition stated that the Pierce company's "revenues have grown from $9,000 in 1969 - when the company was founded by Leo Pierce."
An online history of Pierce Leahy states that in naming his son J. Peter Sr. as president in 1994, "Leo Pierce saw changes coming in the business as liability insurance costs soared and customers began demanding more services.
"It was evident to him that small operations would have a hard time making it in the coming years and that the records-storage business was ripe for consolidation. Pierce Archives had become one of the industry's larger firms by concentrating on adding new customers and increasing the storage capacity of existing clients."
Leo Pierce retired as CEO in January 1995, remaining chairman of the board, and J. Peter Pierce became CEO.
Leo Pierce stepped down as board chairman in February 2000.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Pierce was the son of a Brooklyn Naval Shipyard worker.
"He came from a very modest family," Mr. Pierce's son said. "His mother died when he was 4 or 5 years old."
A 1939 graduate of what became St. John's University, he served in the Army from 1941 to 1945 and was discharged as a major.
His first wife, Peggy, whom he married in 1941, died in 2001.
Mr. Pierce founded the Leo and Peggy Pierce Family Foundation in 1997. It, his family stated, "has helped hundreds of charitable organizations in the Philadelphia area as well as Vero Beach," where he was named a philanthropist of the year in 2009.
At St. John's, he set up the Leo W. and Marjorie L. Pierce Scholarship Endowment Fund.
The university named a dormitory the Leo W. Pierce House in 2009, a St. John's spokeswoman said in an interview, "in gratitude for his generosity toward the university."
In Boston, he helped set up a youth squash and educational program known as Squash Busters, which encouraged operations such as the current Squash Smarts of Philadelphia.
Besides his son, Mr. Pierce is survived by Betty, his wife of eight years; sons Leo W., Jr., Michael, and Christopher; daughters Kathryn Cox, Molly, Barbara Quinn, and Constance Buckley; 26 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; three stepdaughters; and two step-grandchildren.
A life celebration was set for 1 p.m. Monday, July 23, at Merion Cricket Club, 325 Montgomery Ave., Haverford. Burial is to be private.
Donations may be sent to Sacred Heart Church, 1739 Ferry Ave., Camden, N.J. 08104.
Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.