Matthew T. Welde, bank president, chairman

Matthew T. Welde, 80, of Valley Forge, retired chairman of Commonwealth Federal Savings Bank, died Sunday at Phoenixville Hospital of complications from a stroke.

Mr. Welde became treasurer of Commonwealth Federal after it was formed in 1964 through a series of mergers and acquisitions. He also came up with the name, his son Kenneth said. He was Commonwealth Federal's president from 1976 until January 1991 and then served as chairman for a year until his retirement.

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Matthew T.Welde

Under his leadership, the bank enjoyed steady growth, an Inquirer reporter wrote in 1991, and "prided itself on prudent, conservative management." Its basic business was mortgages for houses in Philadelphia's suburbs.

Mr. Welde graduated from Bok Technical High School in Philadelphia, where he played basketball. During World War II, he served in the Army in the States.

After his discharge, he earned a bachelor's degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and worked as an accountant for Esterbrook Steel Pen Co. in Camden. He then worked for Allied Chemical in Philadelphia before joining Quaker City Savings and Loan in Philadelphia, which eventually merged with other banks to become Commonwealth Federal. In 1949, he married Jeanette Rapp, with whom he had two sons. They later divorced. Since 1962 he had been married to Elizabeth Daley Welde.

Mr. Welde enjoyed golf, pinochle, and mowing his lawn. He shot hoops into his 60s, his son said, and, though he was right-handed, could beat his sons at Ping-Pong with his left hand. He was past chairman of the Pennsylvania Association of Savings Institutions and served on the advisory council for the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia. He served on several boards, including Montgomery Hospital in Norristown, and Marywood University in Scranton. He was past president of the Norristown Rotary Club.

In addition to his son and wife, Mr. Welde is survived by another son, Mike; a sister; and three grandchildren. His former wife died in 1985. A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Ann Church, 502 S. Main St., Phoenixville. Friends may call at Devlin Rosmos Kepp Funeral Home, 517 S. Main St., Phoenixville from 9:30 a.m. tomorrow and from 7 to 9 p.m. today.


Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.