Pittsburgh Businessman, Philanthropist Henry L. Hillman Dies At 98

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Henry L. Hillman, a Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist, died Friday evening.

Hillman passed away at Shadyside Hospital at the age of 98. His wife Elsie, a philanthropist and Republican activist, passed away in 2015. 

His daughter, Audrey Hillman Fisher, made the announcement.

“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. We’ll miss him so much.”

Father of four, grandfather of ten, great-grandfather of sixteen, the highly-regarded civic leader made a major mark on Pittsburgh’s economy and culture.

“Henry created The Hillman Company as we know it today, having reshaped it from its roots in industrial businesses to diversified investing,” said Joseph Manzinger, President of The Hillman Company. “Although known in Pittsburgh mainly for his generous philanthropy, Henry was respected around the world as a pioneer in private equity and venture capital. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Hillman family as we think about how difficult Henry’s loss must be for them.”

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He was described by Forbes Magazine as Pittsburgh’s richest man, with an estimated worth of $2.6 billion.

Henry Hillman attended Shady Side Academy and graduated from The Taft School and Princeton University. Following his service in World War II as a U.S. Navy aviator, he returned to Pittsburgh, newly married to Elsie.

Over the next 30 years, he transformed the family business from its roots in coke and chemical production and related industries into a diversified investment company. He served as a director of many companies in Pittsburgh and across the country including General Electric, Cummins Engine, Merck, PNC Financial Services, and Texas Gas Transmission.

Hillman’s life was marked by an unwavering commitment to the city he loved. Perhaps best known for the support he provided that created the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Hillman also served as a trustee and director of many nonprofit and civic organizations.

“The hallmark of Henry’s philanthropy has been his commitment to making Pittsburgh the best city it can be,” said Hillman Family Foundation’s President David K. Roger. “Henry had seen the city at its industrial heights, worked tirelessly as a civic leader to stem its decline, and was an integral player in its rebirth and revival. He was genuinely gratified to see the city thriving again. Thanks to his generosity and love of this place and its people, his commitment to Pittsburgh will continue through the work of the foundations he created.”

The Hillman Family has announced that they will receive friends on Thursday, April 20, 2017, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at John A. Freyvogel Sons in Pittsburgh.

The memorial service will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017, at 11 a.m., at Calvary Episcopal Church.

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

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald issued a statement on Hillman’s passing, saying in part, that the man was a “true hero,” and that he and his wife Elsie contributed to Pittsburgh’s “renaissance and regeneration.”

Mayor William Peduto wrote that “Pittsburgh has lost another Patriarch,” and said that Hillman’s efforts to create non-profit organizations led directly to the city’s rebirth.

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