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Community Champion Stephen Hartwell Dies

He was a driving force in Fairfax County


Lifelong community leader Stephen Hartwell died peacefully at age 96 on Dec. 14, at his home, Riversedge, at Mt. Vernon, Virginia. Mr. Hartwell, a former chair of the Fairfax County Planning Commission, was conceived in Paris during World War 1 and was born in Philadelphia, PA on April 15, 1915. 

"He was a kind, generous and wonderful man, and he will be dearly missed," said Mr. Hartwell's son, Rob. "One thing that happened this evening that I have never witnessed before, at about the time he passed away, was a flock of 14 Bald Eagles flying together, and thought it was an omen of some kind. They were flying through my back yard on course directly for his house, albeit a few miles away." 

Mr. Hartwell graduated from the Lafayette College with a B.S. in Administrative Engineering in 1936; was an investment analyst in Philadelphia from 1938 until 1941, when he entered the Army Signal Corps arising to the rank of Major. After his discharge from the Service in 1946, he was associated with the FAA and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; in 1954 he became Executive Vice President of the Steadman Funds; in 1968 he was elected Vice President of Washington Mutual Investors Fund, becoming President in 1981. He later became Chairman of the Board of Directors, where he served until 2001, thereafter becoming Chairman Emeritus for life.  

Mr. Hartwell was Chief of Staff at the Atomic Energy Commission; a Vice President at Steadman Securities, and then VP, President and Chairman of the Board at Johnston & Lemon’s Washington Mutual Fund, where at its peak, he oversaw a portfolio of $90 billion. He was also chair of the Board of Advisors of Woodlawn National Bank, advisor to Clarendon Bank and Trust Company and its successor, First American Bank of Virginia, President of Colchester Corporation, director of numerous other companies, and partner in several real estate ventures in the Mt. Vernon area of Fairfax County. He was equally active in the Investment Industry and served on the National Association of Securities Dealers District Committee, in addition to chairing tax-exempt bond funds in Maryland and Virginia. He was a long-time active member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington, DC and a regular luncheon diner at the Club.  

He served his community in many capacities, including as a member and Chairman of the Fairfax County Planning Commission, member of the Northern Virginia Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission, Governor of Gunston Hall School, member of the Board of Visitors of the College of Business Administration at The American University, member of the Woodlawn Plantation Council of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Trustee of the American University in Washington, DC, and Trustee of the Woodlawn Foundation. He was a Trustee of the INOVA Hospital System and Chairman of its Finance and Investment Committees.

Mr. Hartwell was Chair of the Mt. Vernon Guard, which supports Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate and Past-President of his national fraternity, Zeta Psi. He also found time to be active in Republican politics and was a frequent fundraiser for many campaigns from the 1960s until his death. He was appointed Chairman of the Virginia College Building Authority by Governor Jim Gilmore in 1998.   

Mr. Hartwell is survived by his wife of 32 years, Norma Bostick Hartwell, two sons, Stephen W. and Robert v. L. Hartwell, two grandchildren, Stephen A. and Heather L., a great-granddaughter, Skylar A., and two step-children, Warren Bostick and Elizabeth Anne Bostick; and four step-grandchildren, David Graham, Sarah, Kelly, and Erika; a sister, Charlotte Christie, predeceased him.

A memorial service will be at St. Andrew and St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Catholic Church, 402 E. Monroe Ave., Alexandria, VA at 11:00 Monday morning, December 19, 2011. 

Internment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Zeta Psi Fraternity Foundation, 15 S. Henry Street, Pearl River, NY 10965. 

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