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Henry Hillman, renowned Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist, dies

| Friday, April 14, 2017, 9:39 p.m.
Henry Hillman signs his name to the last beam of the Hillman Cancer Center, as wife, Elsie looks on, Monday, December 11th, 2000, during the 'Topping Out' ceremony. The Hillman Cancer Center will house patient care and research activities of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. KJH-HILLMAN1-12
Philip G. Pavely
Henry Hillman (left) and Bill Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chairman of Microsoft Corp., cut the ribbon at Carnegie Mellon University on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009. Gates was attending dedication ceremonies for the Gates Center for Computer Science and the Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies.
Henry L. Hillman, Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist, 1918-2017.
Courtesy of the Hillman family
Henry Lee Hillman
Courtesy of the Hillman family
Henry Hillman with Microsoft founder Bill Gates at Carnegie Mellon University in 2009.
John Altdorfer
Elsie and Henry Hillman during the Hillman Cancer Center Living Courageously NEA Future without Cancer Gala at the Consol Energy Center, Oct. 24, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
People, including Henry Hillman, widower of Elsie, packed into Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, during the memorial service titled 'A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Elsie Hilliard Hillman.'
From left, David Hillenbrand, Elsie Hillman, Henry Hillman, Ann Wertz, Ron Wertz and Jack Barbour during the opening reception for the new Wertz Gallery in the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007.
Philip G. Pavely
Henry Hillman hoists his fist in the air as he is joined by Bill Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chairman of Microsoft Corp., at Carnegie Mellon University Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009. Both were attending dedication ceremonies for the Gates Center for Computer Science and the Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies.

Henry Hillman, renowned Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist, died Friday evening in UPMC Shadyside, according to his family. He was 98.

His wife, Republican matriarch Elsie Hillman, died in 2015.

Although a pioneer in private equity and venture capital, according to The Hillman Co. and the Hillman Family Foundations, the civic philanthropist was best known for his support of the Hillman Cancer Center, which is the flagship treatment and research facility at the UPMC CancerCenter network and the nationally and internationally recognized research of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Hillman served on the boards of a number of Pittsburgh nonprofits and civic icons such as the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Children's Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh, Action Housing, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

"The hallmark of Henry's philanthropy has been his commitment to making Pittsburgh the best city it can be," said David K. Roger, president of the Hillman Family Foundation.

The son of industrialist John Hartwell Hillman Jr. and Juliet Cummins Lea Hillman, Hillman attended Shady Side Academy and graduated from The Taft School and Princeton University.

Hillman served as a Navy aviator during World War II. When he returned, he married and refocused the family business in coke and chemical production to a diversified investment company.

His venture capital investments in the 1970s help fuel the growth of Silicon Valley. He went on to serve as director of a number of companies including General Electric, Cummins Engine, Merck and PNC Financial Services.

Hillman is the father of Lea Simonds, Audrey Fisher, Henry Hillman Jr., and Bill Hillman, and grandfather of 10 and great-great grandfather of 16.

Hillman's children stated: "Daddy had such a tremendous life filled by a large family he loved dearly, innumerable friends, and great adventures in business and philanthropy. Mother's loss so soon after they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2015 was difficult, but he did what he always did, he kept going and kept our spirits going, too."

The Hillman family will receive friends from 3-5 p.m. Thursday at John A. Freyvogel Sons, 4900 Centre Ave., Shadyside. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Ave., Shadyside.

Memorial contributions can be sent to the Hillman Cancer Center/University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute or to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or mthomas@tribweb.com or on twitter @MaThomas_Trib.


Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the latest funeral arrangements.

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