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Community reflects on the passing of Pittsburgh philanthropist Henry Hillman

| Saturday, April 15, 2017, 1:57 p.m.
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.'
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.'

Henry Lea 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.

Condolences for the Hillman family began posting to social media from community leaders in Pittsburgh on Saturday:

Bishop Zubik Statement on the Death of Henry Hillman:

"Pittsburgh has lost another pillar of our civic life this Holy Week with the death of Henry Hillman. Mr. Hillman was a wise and generous steward who used his fortune to benefit our community, especially those who suffer from cancer and other serious illnesses. He gave quietly from his heart, time and wealth to support the institutions that make Pittsburgh strong -- hospitals, housing programs, museums, libraries and universities. Wherever he saw a tear in the social fabric, he worked to mend it. We all owe him a debt of gratitude that can best be repaid by imitating his concern for those in need."

David K. Roger, president of the Hillman Family Foundation:

"The hallmark of Henry's philanthropy has been his commitment to making Pittsburgh the best city it can be."

Statement by Mayor William Peduto on the Passing of Henry Hillman:

"Pittsburgh has lost another Patriarch, Henry Hillman. Mr. Hillman led the efforts of Pittsburgh's first renaissance. Along with his beloved wife, Elsie, he helped to create numerous non-profit organizations that have led directly to Pittsburgh's rebirth.

Far beyond their own family Foundation, Henry & Elsie have proven that civic leadership in Pittsburgh can save a city, rebuild a city and transform a city.

Henry Hillman will always be remembered as a leader who changed an industrial city into a 21st Century city. The City of Pittsburgh mourns his loss and we send our condolences to the entire Hillman family."

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."

From UPMC President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Romoff:

"Henry Hillman was not only an exemplary philanthropist and businessman, but also a visionary who, with his wife, Elsie, has touched the lives of tens of thousands of cancer patients throughout western Pennsylvania and around the world. With the very generous support and oversight of Henry and Elsie, the world-renowned Hillman Cancer Center was created. UPMC and all of this region have lost a dear friend, but we will continue to build on his great legacy."

From Stanley M. Marks, M.D., Chairman of UPMC CancerCenter:

"Henry Hillman was an incredible human being and a brilliant and inquisitive man. Not only did he provide the funding to create the Hillman Cancer Center, but he and Elsie supported a fellows program for young researchers for the past 12 years. Henry didn't just provide funding. He wanted to know what research was being done and what progress was being made. He was intrigued by the science and the paradigm shift that is taking place in the way we approach cancer. His profound interest drove all of us at UPMC CancerCenter and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute to work even harder for better treatments and cures."

Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh:

"Henry and his wife Elsie forever changed our city. On behalf of the Pitt community, I extend my deepest condolences to the Hillman family."

Statement on the Passing of Henry Hillman

From Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh :

"Along with the entire Carnegie Mellon University community, I join the city of Pittsburgh and friends around the world in both the celebration of Henry Hillman's historic life, and the profound sense of loss at his passing.

Henry's wide-ranging curiosity and his sharp analysis of innovations in science, technology, and policy can be seen in the broad variety of causes he and his foundation supported here at Carnegie Mellon, ranging from computer science to transportation technologies to brain research. Those seemingly disparate commitments shared a common goal: to benefit humanity, and to put Pittsburgh at the forefront of that global progress.

Mary and I had the good fortune to get to know Henry and Elsie in recent years, and I am proud to be the inaugural holder of the Henry L. Hillman President's Chair with a deep sense of honor and gratitude for all that title represents.

Henry Hillman's extraordinary spirit and gifts live on through his family, including his daughter Lea Simonds, who serves as a CMU trustee. Our hearts go out to them at this difficult time."

Office of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald statement on the passing of Henry Hillman:

"Pittsburgh lost a true hero to our region with the passing of Henry Hillman."

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