Joan Bennett Titus Chew, who passed away peacefully in her home Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, was a tireless public servant, boon to the community and loyal friend.
Mrs. Chew, who was born Oct. 22, 1929, was the daughter of Frank Calvin Titus and Mary Venetta Headland Titus.
She was a former Butler County commissioner, Butler County treasurer and Butler City treasurer.
Mrs. Chew is survived by her great-nephews, Robert H. Titus Jr. and his wife, Lindsey, of Wilton, N.H., and Will Titus of New Rochelle, N.Y.; her nephew's wife, Ilene Titus, of Southborough, Mass.; and her great-great-nieces, Savannah and Delilah.
She was preceded in death by two husbands, Charles T. Chew, an attorney, and former Butler County commissioner, who died Feb. 9, 1977, and Dr. Orvan "Van" B. Peterson, who died Sept. 14, 2013, whom she married on March 21, 1986.
Mrs. Chew also was preceded in death by her brother, William S. Titus; and nephews, William B. Titus and Robert H. Titus.
After earning a bachelor's degree in education, she obtained a teaching certificate from the State Teacher's College in Slippery Rock in June 1951, and became a teacher at Butler Area Elementary school.
Mrs. Chew later became Butler City treasurer, serving from 1980-1983. She then served as Butler County treasurer from 1984-1999, and Butler County commissioner from 2000-2002.
She also was a Slippery Rock University trustee from 1984-1995, and a member of the Butler County Community College board of trustees from 1977-1983, as ex officio from January 2000-2002 and serving a second stint from 2003-2016.
Mrs. Chew served on the Butler County Community College Foundation board from 2003-2014, and the Ellen O'Brien Gaiser Center advisory board for two stints before becoming board member emeritus. She also was a board member for the American Cancer Society from 1990-1993; Butler Health System from 2003-2004; and Butler Health System Foundation from 2001-2003.
Mrs. Chew was a Republican state committee woman for multiple terms, and a Butler City Ward committee woman for multiple terms, with the last ending in 2019.
She was a senior volunteer for Butler County Veterans Services, entering data on service men's and women's records for conversion to a new system in 2017.
Her interests were politics, gardening, all things found in nature, traveling, visiting wineries, and her love of animals from her pet pony as a child, to her Pekinese puppy, Tao, to her cats and constant companions, K-K and Stray.
At a young age, she learned the power of compound interest, and became an astute and lifelong investor in the stock market, encouraging others to invest wisely.
She was a powerhouse in Butler County political circles for decades. Her first political campaign was handing out flowers on the South Side viaduct as a young girl for her grandfather, who was a physician elected Butler County coroner in the 1930s.
Mrs. Chew served as Butler City treasurer, followed by Butler County treasurer for 16 years. She proved to be a worthy and fierce opponent in every campaign she ran. She has the distinction of being the first female county commissioner elected in Butler County over the course of its 200-year history in 2000.
Her political acumen and knowledge of campaigning was unmatched and sought out by many candidates throughout her years in politics. Mrs. Chew chaired political campaigns for judges, state legislators, U.S. senators and congressmen. Two of her proudest distinctions were serving as Butler County coordinator for Senator John Heinz in 1976, and campaigning for then PA Supreme Court candidate Sandra Schultz Newman in 1996, who was the first woman justice to be elected to the PA Supreme Court, the oldest court in the nation. Mrs. Chew financially supported all those candidates she believed in, and worked tirelessly for any candidate who would best serve the public's interests in her county, state and country.
Mrs. Chew was a philanthropist and gave much support to her beloved Butler County community, both in money and through volunteerism.
Former colleague and dear friend, Diane Marburger, was entrusted by Mrs. Chew to administer and handle of her personal affairs after the passing of her second husband. Mrs. Chew's wish was to pass in the comfort of the home at 216 Center Avenue, where she was born just two days before the Great Crash of 1929. Mrs. Chew's family and friends wish to thank those who helped fulfill Joan's wish. A special thank you to caregiver, Lori Turner, who coordinated Mrs. Chew's care, along with Darlene Covert, Mackenzie O'Donnell, Twila Timblin, Linda Cyprian and the VNA Butler, Hospice Care. A heartfelt thank you to her dear friend, Sue Haggerty, who was a devoted and caring friend, calling Joan nightly, just to chat about all the day's current events.
Mrs. Chew may have been small in stature, but her influence and impact on her beloved Butler County community was profound and touched many people's lives. She will be sadly missed.
CHEW - A memorial service for Joan Bennett Titus Chew, who passed away peacefully in her home Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at First United Methodist Church, 200 E. North St., Butler, with the Rev. David Janz officiating.
Arrangements were entrusted to Thompson-Miller Funeral Home, 124 E. North St., Butler, PA 16001.
Online condolences can be given at www.thompson-miller.com.
Published by Butler Eagle from Sep. 9 to Sep. 10, 2021.