John Thomas Ligget Jr., 88, longtime banker and athlete.

Posted: August 05, 2014

AFTER JOHN LIGGET retired as senior vice president of CoreStates Bank in 1987, the bank wouldn't let him go.

It asked him to help keep its customers happy by playing 18 holes of golf with them at the Merion Golf Club, an enviable occupation for John Ligget, who not only played the course for his own recreation, but was an officer of the club.

John Thomas Ligget Jr., who spent 37 years in the Philadelphia banking business in various executive capacities, a Navy veteran of World War II, in which he served in the Pacific Theater, world traveler and devoted family man, died Tuesday. He was 88 and was living at Waverly Heights in Gladwyne, and had previously lived in Haverford and Villanova.

Tom, as he was known to family and friends, was an outstanding athlete in his youth and in his later years, as well. As a student of the Haverford School, one of five generations of Liggets to attend the school, he ran the quarter- and half-mile events on the 1943 and 1944 track-and-field teams. He was also a placekicker on the varsity football team.

He played golf at Merion, and tennis and squash at the Merion Cricket Club, of which he also was an officer. He also played paddleball, a winter sport that sometimes required participants to shovel snow from the court to start a game.

The day after graduating from Haverford, Tom joined the Navy.

"I volunteered because I wanted to help defend our country," he said later. "And I like to think I did help, with my small effort."

Tom served in the South Pacific as a gunner's mate 3rd class on four ships: the transport USS Adm. W.S. Benson; repair ship USS Vulcan; and two oilers, USS Caliente and USS Chipola.

After returning from the war, Tom entered Yale University as a member of Saybrook College and graduated in 1950, the same year he began his career at the Philadelphia National Bank.

He was head of the bank's first Personal Trust Department and also headed the International Banking Division. He attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from 1950 to 1952.

As a member of the Railroad Treasurers Association, he traveled widely to attend its conventions.

Tom married the former Nancy Heston in 1950. Together, they traveled the world. They visited Moscow and other foreign cities when their daughter, Amy Terril, and her husband, Richard, worked for the U.S. State Department.

His son John Thomas "Tim" Ligget III, also a Haverford School graduate, said the family has fond memories, as well as photographs, of the three-week trip they took to visit national parks in the western states in the late '60s.

"He was a devoted family man," Tim said. "Family was most important to him."

He was an elder and deacon of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, was an active member of the Philadelphia Rotary Club and was a member of the Union League.

Besides his son and daughter, he is survived by another son, Craig H. Ligget, and seven grandchildren.

Services: 11 a.m. Friday at the Chapel of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, Pa. 19041.

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