Elsie Hillman, GOP Icon, Passes Away at 89

henry-and-elsie-hillmanOne of the most beloved and influential figures in Pennsylvania’s political history has passed away.

Elsie Hillman, a philanthropist and long-time GOP activist died today at the age of 89.

The wife of billionaire industrialist Henry Hillman, Elsie influenced state and national politics for decades.

Former President George H.W. Bush released a statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describing Hillman.

“Elsie Hillman, our dear friend, broke the mold,” President Bush said. “She was full of wisdom, full of energy, and full of humor. She was a tireless political activist, and a wonderful, caring human being. I was blessed to have her on my side. Barbara and I loved her.”

In what may very well be his first public statement of any kind since his loss in last November’s election, Gov. Corbett also commented on Elsie.

“There are so many wonderful things you could say about Elsie Hillman. Elsie was truly a very special person. She was someone who dedicated her life to helping all people, regardless of gender, race, economic standing or political affiliation,” he stated. “Elsie was known for her generosity and her unwavering commitment to her community and our commonwealth. Elsie was a mentor to me and was someone I sought counsel and advice from throughout my career.”

“I will miss her smiling face, hearty laugh and most of all her friendship,” Gov. Corbett concluded. “Susan and I send our thoughts and prayers to Elsie’s husband Henry, their family and the many who loved her.”

She is survived by her husband and four children, Lea Simonds, Audrey Fisher, Henry Hillman Jr., and Bill Hillman, as well as nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

4 Responses

  1. She was a true blue Republican, always kept her word and championed the female agenda without offending people.She was one that would not back down from a fight and put manny a man in short pants including me! She was a King maker, good sense of humor! I will remember Elsie in my prayers, unfortunately God broke the mold when he created Elsie!

  2. Elsie would not fit today’s Republican Party. She was an ardent supporter of my good friend Nate Smith in his efforts to bring opportunities to minorities in the construction field. Nate was on the battle lines many times, but was a true post-racial pioneer.

  3. I met Mrs. Hillman during the Courage To Come Back campaign at St. Francis Hospital. I was the office manager of the Health Foundation which sponsored this fund raising event for a few years. I am sure Mrs. Hillman would never remember me, but she made a positive impression on me. She was very friendly, introduced herself, and made me feel so important with her warm way and smiling face. I am privileged to have met her.

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