William W. Grant III, known to all as Peter, passed peacefully on December 12, 2020. He stood with integrity, honesty, intelligence and admirable devotion to his large Grant family and his friends with a great sense of humor. He was even tempered even in the most stressful situations and had an incredible memory for details and names. A nearly lifelong Colorado resident, he retired in 1993 from his position as Chairman of the Colorado National Bank of Denver and Colorado National Bancshares after a 35-year career there. He rose from bond trader to President and Chairman, over years that brought a multitude of changes in banking from a single branch to holding companies; the addition of a credit card issuer (Rocky Mountain BankCard); interstate banking and finally a sale to First Bank Systems (now USBank) in 1993.
His second career as a devoted philanthropist and advisor spanned as many years. He was one of those rare people genuinely interested in what and how you were doing, and made you feel that whatever it was, it was important. He was thoughtful about connecting people with opportunities, taking time for meetings and introductions and then following up. He was a Director of Plains Petroleum and Barrett Resources. He served on, often chairing, the Boards of The Gates (rubber) Family Foundation, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science (formerly the Denver Museum of Natural History) The Nature Conservancy of Colorado, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Episcopal Church Foundation, Four Mile Historic Park, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy (formerly the Rocky Mountain Nature Association), the Illif School of Theology, the Midwest Research institute, Colorado Energy Science Center, KRMA-TV, Channel Six, as well as an active vestryman and Senior Warden for St. Barnabas Episcopal Church (of Denver). He was active in the Andover Alumni Association and funded a scholarship.
With his wife of 65 years, Rhondda, they supported the Smithsonian American History Museum providing lead funding on the Jefferson Bible conservation and printing and the Abraham Lincoln exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. They have been substantially involved in the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine, supporting the Gates Summer Internship Program as well as other initiatives in stem cell research there. Most recently they were one of three sponsors of the Denver presentation of American Democracy: a Great Leap of Faith developed by the National Museum of American History and currently on exhibit at the History of Colorado Center.
Finally, Peter was a long time steward of Grant family interests in Colorado properties. His father Bill initiated development of their parents farm property southwest of Denver in the early ‘80s. Peter and two other family branch representatives entered into a partnership with Jordan Perlmutter to develop a number of shopping centers at the sites. One family branch resides in England; Peter was instrumental in persuading British Airways to open daily direct service to Denver. The Grant Family managing “Senior Committee” which he developed, survives today as a model of family investment and stewardship now serving and benefiting the 4th, 5th and 6th generations.
Peter was born in New York to W.W. Grant III (Bill) and Katherine (Kocie) O’Connor in 1932. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover MA and Yale University, graduating with a degree in English. While at Yale he met Rhondda Lowery; they were married in 1955. They moved to New York City where he had started his career at Bankers Trust Company in 1954. Together they moved to his parents’ hometown of Denver in 1958. He attended Harvard University’s two summer-long Advanced Management Program in the mid ‘70s, widening his ever-growing circle of friends and associates worldwide. He was a devoted fan of the Colorado Rockies, both the hockey team (now the New Jersey Devils) and his beloved baseball team.
He is survived by his wife Rhondda, their three daughters: Hallidie Haid (Don), Deirdre Mercurio (Jim) and Liza Grant, as well as six grandchildren: Relly, Wes, Marielle, MacKenzie, Patrick and Caleigh.
In lieu of flowers, we hope you will consider donations to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy (rmconservancy.org) supporting the Rocky Mountain National Park, or to the Peter Grant Fund for Colorado at the National Trust for Historic Preservation (SavingPlaces.org or DFord@savingplaces.org) supporting grants for preservation projects across the state.