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.