Bob Wilmers

Bob Wilmers was the longtime CEO and chairman of M&T Bank Corp. and co-owner of New England Newspapers Inc. Wilmers was known as a leader in the regional banking industry who demanded excellence and believed a bank was dependent on the success of the community it serves. In that regard, he quietly gave millions to arts organizations near the home he had maintained in Stockbridge since 1969. Among the Berkshire institutions who benefited from his philanthropy were the Berkshire Theatre Group, The Mount, and MASS MoCA. While at JP Morgan in the 1970s and 80s, he worked with Neil Chrisman, who would go on to lead the Jacob’s Pillow board in the mid-1990s when foreclosure loomed because of a $4.8 million debt. When the bond-holder proposed to settle for a payment of $1.25 million in cash, Wilmers offered a crucial matching grant of $500,000, according to Chrisman, and with help from a New York foundation, the Pillow was able to beat the deadline. “That became our launching pad to long-term viability,” says Chrisman. “We’re indebted to him.” Wilmers died at his New York home on December 16, 2017 at the age of 83.
Source of Biography
Written by Norton Owen for Jacob's Pillow Remembers.