Public Statement from the Hillman Family
on the Passing of Elsie Hilliard Hillman
August 4, 2015
The family of Elsie Hilliard Hillman—devoted wife of loving husband Henry for 70 years, mother of Lea Simonds, Audrey Fisher, Henry Hillman, Jr., and Bill Hillman, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of fourteen, civic and political leader, and philanthropist—has announced that she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family today. She was 89 years old.
Hillman, a former Republican National Committeewoman and friend to Presidents, Governors, Senators and thousands of people from all walks of life, was a prominent civic leader and perhaps Pittsburgh’s biggest booster for well over half a century.
From an early age, she dedicated herself to serving others through civic organizations and philanthropy, but her greatest joy in life was her family. “Elsie was happiest when surrounded by her family,” said husband Henry Hillman. “Every person she ever met, she made to feel as though they were her best friend and that she would do anything for them, but her family always came first in her heart.” In addition to her husband, she is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Actively involved in the community, at the time of her passing, she was chair of the Elsie H. Hillman Foundation, a trustee of the Hillman Family Foundations, co-chair of the UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter Council, and served as a board member of WQED, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Hill House Association and director emeritus of several more organizations and universities. She was the recipient of eight honorary degrees and countless honors over the course of her life including being named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. Elsie was recently recognized by the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics as the subject of a publication entitled, “Never a Spectator: The Political Life of Elsie Hillman,” on her civic career and groundbreaking work as a political and community leader as well as an advocate for women and minorities in elected office.
Funeral arrangements will be private and for the immediate family only. A community memorial service to celebrate her remarkable life is being planned for Saturday, September 19th at 10:30 a.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh.