If you live in or around Pittsburgh –
You know her name.
Elsie Hillman never ran for public office –
But at one time –
She was a major player in Republican politics.
She backed candidates like John Heinz –
George H. W. Bush –
And Tom Ridge.
She urged women from both parties to run for office –
And used her political clout to push for social issues.
Elsie Hillman was also a philanthropist.
Through their foundations –
She and her husband, Henry –
Supported an incredible array of organizations and causes.
But when Elsie Hillman died last month –
We lost more than a political activist or philanthropist.
We lost a woman who truly cared about people –
Who was generous with her time –
As well as her money –
And who connected with everyone –
From prime ministers to parking lot attendants.
Thank you, Elsie –
For your compassion –
Your dedication to public service –
And your laughter.