By Paul Martino


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Saturday many remembered a woman who left an incredible legacy for Pittsburgh and the region.

Elsie Hillman was being called the Queen of Pittsburgh with a common touch.

Those were some of the words during a memorial at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside.

The memorial was a celebration of her life, a life that touched so many in Pittsburgh.

In fact, former Gov. Tom Ridge compared Elsie Hillman to the lead character in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey. As Jimmy Stewart’s character contemplated suicide, an angel asked what life would have been without him.

“What would be different in your life, if you had not been blessed by the grace of Elsie’s presence?” said Ridge.

How would it have been different? Maybe Pittsburgh’s pools wouldn’t have opened in 2004 if she hadn’t raised the money for them when the city went broke.

Maybe we wouldn’t’ have the world-renounced cancer center in Shadyside that she raised millions for, or the ice rink at PPG Place.

And she was also a political leader who was a moderate voice in the Republican party. But she worked with democrats too.

And many remembered how Hillman championed unpopular cases: civil rights and compassion for AIDS patients when most others feared them.

The stories were endless, and so too is the legacy of Elsie Hillman.

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