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Lillian B. Hackerman, whose extensive philanthropy included homes away from home for hospital patients and their families, dies

Lillian B. Hackerman and her husband funded educational, cultural, medical and religious institutions.
Lillian B. Hackerman and her husband funded educational, cultural, medical and religious institutions.

Lillian B. Hackerman, whose philanthropic interests that she shared with her late husband, construction company executive Willard Hackerman, ranged from educational to cultural, medical and religious institutions, to homes away from home for hospital patients and their families, died Sunday in her sleep at her 1 Slade Ave. residence in Pikesville. She was 100.

“Lillian Hackerman lived her life focused on family with a deep calling to help others. Both she and her husband were amazingly generous, and their gifts will leave a lasting impact on our communities,” Neil Meltzer, who is president of LifeBridge Health, said in an email statement.

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“However, people may never know just how much the Hackermans gave to help others, as they never wanted to be recognized for their generosity — giving back was just who they were,” he said.

Retired Baltimore Circuit Judge Ellen M. Heller was a friend of Mrs. Hackerman’s.

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“When I think of Lillian and her husband, they were exceptionally generous philanthropists and very thoughtful when it came to the causes they supported,” Judge Heller, a North Roland Park resident, said. “She was a beautiful and elegant woman who was totally devoted to her family and friends. She was an attentive person and was always smiling.”

Willard and Lillian B. Hackerman are pictured in 2009 at the unveiling of a statue of former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
Willard and Lillian B. Hackerman are pictured in 2009 at the unveiling of a statue of former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer. (Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore Sun)

The former Lillian Bernice Patz, daughter of Benjamin Patz, a dry goods store owner, and his wife. Yetta Patz, who worked alongside her husband, was born in Newport News, Virginia, moved with her family to Forest Park in 1932.

After graduating from Western High School in 1937, Mrs. Hackerman turned down an offer to attend Goucher College and instead attended what was then known as Strayer’s Business College, thinking it a more practical educational option than college.

It was a love of books that led to her meeting Willard Hackerman when she was 18, in the Forest Park Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library on April 29, 1938, family members said. They were wed three years later after Mr. Hackerman began his career as an engineer at Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

“My parents were a team and a force and for 72 years of marriage they worked together, saved together, and gave together,” said her daughter, Nancy Hackerman of Pikesville.

Among the couple’s joint philanthropic interests, they established seven Hackerman-Patz Houses in memory of their parents on hospital campuses such as the Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, and St. Agnes and Sinai hospitals, where long-term hospital patients and their families can stay during extended treatments.

"Mrs. Hackerman did feel comfortable, however, putting her name on one very special project that focused on helping families, the Hackerman-Patz houses, which have been home-away-from-home for so many families as they undergo medical treatments in our area,' Mr. Meltzer, a Lutherville resident, said in the statement.

Mimi Calver (left), director of exhibits and artistic property at the Maryland State Archives, and Ed Papenfuse (second from left), state archivist, chat with Willard and Lillian B. Hackerman,, who helped acquire George Washington's resignation speech during a 2006 celebration in Annapolis to commemorate the acquisition.
Mimi Calver (left), director of exhibits and artistic property at the Maryland State Archives, and Ed Papenfuse (second from left), state archivist, chat with Willard and Lillian B. Hackerman,, who helped acquire George Washington's resignation speech during a 2006 celebration in Annapolis to commemorate the acquisition. (KARL MERTON FERRON / Baltimore Sun)

“Since the Sinai Hospital Hackerman-Patz House opened in April 2004, we have had approximately 80,000 families stay with us. In the house, we have a map to mark where the families have come from; it’s now jammed with pushpins in all 50 states and dozens of countries from around the world — a remarkable legacy of a remarkable woman,” he said.

The Hackermans also funded scholarships at schools throughout Maryland, and were deeply involved at the Johns Hopkins University, whose school of engineering Mr. Hackerman graduated from when he was 19.

At Hopkins, they gave $5 million in 2005 to the Whiting School of Engineering and established the Willard and Lillian Hackerman Chair in Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Other endowments include the Willard Hackerman Scholarship and the Willard Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University. They were also major benefactors of Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Mr. and Mrs. Hackerman donated more than a million dollars to Catholic schools for tuition assistance scholarships, founded the Hackerman Polytechnic Scholarships, a program providing four-year undergraduate support to Poly graduates.

They endowed the Willard and Lillian Hackerman Chair in Radiation Oncology of the Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion and the Hackerman Research Laboratories at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as well as providing financial support for the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building at the Wilmer Eye Institute on the grounds of Hopkins Hospital’s East Baltimore campus.

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She and her husband supported the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and most of the city’s important cultural institutions. They purchased a Mount Vernon Place town house, renamed Hackerman House, which houses the Walters Art Museum’s Asian collection.

Mrs. Hackerman had also been active in her children’s Parent Teacher Associations and with State of Israel Bonds, The Associated, True Sisters, the Nathan and Mary Hackerman Lodge of B’nai B’rith and Beth Jacob Synagogue.

She and her husband enjoyed attending Orioles, Baltimore Colts and Ravens games. She was an avid duckpin bowler.

“She was a killer bowler and woe to the team member who was dragging the point score down,” her daughter said. “You could expect a quick lesson on the right way to deliver the ball.”

Mrs. Hackerman was a member of Beth El Congregation.

Her husband of 72 years who had been president and CEO of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. for 59 years, died in 2014.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Hackerman is survived by a son, Steven Alan Mordecai Hackerman of Pikesville; five grandchildren; and 27 great-grandchildren.

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