Charles Collier

August 2, 2018

Peterborough, NH – Charles Whitney Collier, 70, of Dublin, NH and formerly of Wellesley, MA, died on Thursday, August 2 at RiverMead, a continuing care community in Peterborough, NH with his wife and sons by his side. He had been a resident of the special care unit at RiverMead for fifteen months.

Charlie was born in Wellesley, MA on July 24, 1948, the son of Abram Thurlow and Eleanor (Whitney) Collier. He grew up in Wellesley and graduated from Phillips Andover Academy in 1967. He received a bachelor’s degree in religion from Dartmouth College in 1971 and a MTS degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1973. Charlie was a loyal alumnus to all his educational institutions and supported them in many ways. At Andover he established an endowed scholarship fund in his parents’ names and received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 200l. In 2012, he received the Harvard Medal for “extraordinary service to the University” and the Peter T. Gomes STB’68 Memorial Honors Award from Harvard Divinity School in 2014.

As a teenager, Charlie spent two summers as a counselor at the Quebec Labrador Foundation in in Newfoundland. He was an active outdoorsman, hiking all of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot mountains while in his teens and working at the Appalachian Mountain Club while in college. Charlie was a rock-climbing instructor at Dartmouth and climbed in the Lakes Regions of England and the Alps. He also played squash at Dartmouth and pursued a lifelong passion for skiing, tennis and golf. Charlie was also an avid reader, liberally underlining the passages that resonated most with him and often sharing these quotes with family, friends and colleagues. His innate ability to connect, listen, counsel and genuinely engage with people, were the qualities that defined his essence. His keen sense of humor, ability to tell a good joke and his infectious laugh and smile were a delight to all who knew him.

Upon graduating from Harvard Divinity School, Charlie became a professional photographer and taught photography and Bible Studies at Proctor Academy in New London, NH. He began his career in educational advancement at his alma mater Dartmouth and went on to work as a major gifts officer at Andover, a planned giving officer at Brown University and Director of Planned Giving at Princeton University. In 1986, Harvard University hired Charlie as Director of Planned Giving.

While at Harvard, Charlie became a pioneer and internationally recognized expert in the fields of philanthropic advisory and family wealth counseling. He worked with hundreds of individuals and families to shape their philanthropy and advise them on family relationships surrounding financial wealth.

Charlie was a speaker and consultant for many organizations ranging from universities and independent schools to private banks and community foundations. He lectured and spoke at conferences and symposiums, including the American Bar Association, Wharton Executive Education Programs, Goldman Sachs, National Public Radio and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education from which he received the highest award for teaching in 1992. He wrote numerous articles for estate planning publications and served as a respected resource for quotes in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune and Worth. In 2004, Charlie was named to the The NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50, and in 2012 he received the Fithian Leadership Award for a distinguished career in service to the philanthropic community from the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy.

After his course work at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, DC, Charlie wrote Wealth In Families which Harvard University published in 2001. The book became a widely heralded resource for professionals advising family owned businesses and family wealth counselors. A second edition was published in 2002, and a third edition in 2012.  He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Family Wealth Report in 2014. Charlie served as a senior fellow at the Philanthropic Initiative and served on the boards of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, the Family Foundation Advisor newsletter and the Massachusetts Catalogue for Philanthropy. He was a member of the Committee on the Emotional and Psychological Issues of Estate Planning of the American Bar Association. He was a Trustee of the Fessenden School, the Rivers School and the Quebec Labrador Foundation. He was a longtime member of The Country Club in Brookline, MA and the Dublin Lake Club in Dublin, NH. He was on the advisory board of the Friends of Dartmouth Squash.

When he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2008, he became an advocate for the disease and its sufferers. Working with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, he became a spokesperson promoting awareness and open discussion about the disease. The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund honored Charlie at its tenth anniversary fall symposium in 2014 for his work as an Alzheimer’s advocate.

Charlie is survived by his wife, Susan Handy Stover, his sons, Charles Whitney Collier Jr. and his wife Peggy Chung Collier of Wellesley, MA, and Benjamin Chaffee Collier and his wife Holly Hetherington Collier of Bronxville, NY, three grandchildren, Henry, Matthew and Eliza, his three sisters, Linda Collier Kenerson, of Wellesley, MA, Debora Collier Zug and her husband, James of Bryn Mawr, PA and Joyce Collier Fearnside and her husband James of Peterborough, NH, his stepmother Judith Emory Collier of Peterborough, NH, eight nieces and nephews and fifteen grandnieces and nephews. A devoted son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle and cousin, he exhorted all his family members “to find a binding passion and turn it into meaningful work.”

A memorial service will be held on September 29, 2018 at 3:30pm at the Dublin Community Church in Dublin, NH. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, 34 Washington Street, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481,

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