An heir to the Lehman brokerage fortune and an influential, if lesser known, Democratic fundraiser. Peter Lehman Buttenwieser, 82, of Chestnut Hill, an educator, children’s advocate, philanthropist, and major behind-the-scenes supporter of Democratic candidates and progressive causes, died Feb. 4 2018, of acute myeloid leukemia at his home.
Mr. Buttenwieser had been a principal in the Philadelphia Public Schools, and had long been active helping Democratic senate candidates, notably his close friend, former Sen. Tom Daschle.
Mr. Buttenwieser took charge of the east, and Mr. Levine took charge of the west and, in a series of fundraisers in June of 2007, they collected a surprising $600,000 for the Obama campaign.
He served on the boards of Emily’s List, to advance female candidates, and of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Born in New York City, he was the son of Benjamin J. and Helen Lehman Buttenwieser, and a descendant of one of New York City’s illustrious Jewish families. His grandfather, Joseph Buttenwieser, was a real estate mogul. His father was a philanthropist and investment banker; his mother a civil rights lawyer.
His mother’s family owned the powerful Wall Street financial house Lehman Brothers. She also was the niece of Herbert Lehman, who succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt as New York’s governor.
Mr. Buttenwieser graduated from the Putney School and what is now Columbia University and earned a master’s degree in history from Harvard University and a doctorate in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
He taught in New York City, Uganda, and North Carolina, and in 1970 founded the Durham Child Development Center, an innovative Philadelphia public school with child care and classes for teenage mothers with babies.
From 1980 to 2004, he served as an educational consultant, working closely with foundations to tackle the problems faced by poor and minority children in public schools across the country.
Mr. Buttenwieser was married to Elizabeth Werthan. They had two daughters before divorcing. She survives. In 1986, he married Terry Ann Marek, who had a daughter from a previous marriage.
Besides his wife, Mr. Buttenwieser, is survived by daughters Sarah Buttenwieser and Julie Suh; a stepdaughter Emily Edwards; 10 grandchildren; two brothers; and six nieces and nephews. A sister died earlier.