Known as one of Baltimore’s most generous and dedicated philanthropists along with her late husband, Willard, Lillian Patz Hackerman died of natural causes on Sunday, Oct. 18. She was 100.
“My parents were a team and a force,” said Nancy Hackerman, a resident of Pikesville and Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Throughout their 72-year marriage, she said, her parents “worked together, saved together and gave together.”
Mrs. Hackerman was born Lillian Bernice Patz in Newport News, Va. She was the youngest of six children born to Yetta and Benjamin Patz, Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who started their married life in Frogmore, S.C., and resettled in Baltimore when their daughter was a teenager.
Mrs. Hackerman attended Western High School, where she made some of the closest friends of her life, according to her daughter.
After graduating from Western, Mrs. Hackerman rejected an admission to Goucher College to attend what was then known as Strayer’s Business College, which she felt would be of more practical use during the Depression.
A voracious reader, Mrs. Hackerman met her future husband, a young civil engineer, on Apr. 29, 1938, only a month after her 18th birthday, at the Forest Park branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
They had their first date that night after receiving permission from Mrs. Hackerman’s parents, said her daughter.
The Hackermans married shortly after Mr. Hackerman got his first job with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., of which he eventually became president and CEO.
Mr. Hackerman passed away in February of 2014 at age 95. “Few, if any, have had a larger impact on the community,” eulogized the Baltimore Sun.
Among the Jewish and non-sectarian organizations and nonprofits with which Mrs. Hackerman was active were The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, Beth Jacob Synagogue, State of Israel Bonds, True Sisters Inc. and the Nathan and Mary Hackerman Lodge of B’nai B’rith, as well as her children’s parent-teacher associations.
“Lillian and her late husband, Willard, a former Chair of the Board, were devoted and generous leaders of The Associated for decades, a tradition that Nancy continues to uphold today,” said Marc B. Terrill, president of The Associated. “She was a kind and compassionate person; a true woman of valor who will be remembered for her grace and empathy.”
Among the couple’s joint philanthropic endeavors were the establishment of seven Hackerman-Patz Houses, a “home away from home” named in memory of their parents and created for the benefit of longtime hospital patients and their families.
In addition, the Hackermans were strong supporters of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Walters Art Museum, and many of the area’s arts and cultural institutions, as well as universities. They were also avid sports fans, attending or listening to virtually every Orioles, Colts and Ravens game.
Nationally, the Hackermans were supportive of such institutions as the Cleveland Clinic and Stanford University.
The Hackermans also funded numerous scholarships across the state and were enthusiastic supporters of Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Hackerman’s college alma mater. They established the Hackerman Polytechnic Scholarships, a program providing four-year undergraduate support to graduates of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Hackerman’s high school alma mater.
In addition, they funded 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. They also provided major support for the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building at the Wilmer Eye Institute.
In her personal time, Mrs. Hackerman was both athletic and competitive, especially in her sport of choice — duckpin bowling.
“She was a killer bowler, and woe to the team member who was dragging the point score down,” Nancy Hackerman said. “You could expect a quick lesson on the right way to deliver the ball!”
In a Facebook tribute, Mrs. Hackerman’s granddaughter, Miriam Blau, wrote, “She went out of her way to help other people, was caring, loving, and a pillar of the family. She will be missed. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emes.“
Mrs. Hackerman is survived by her children, Steven Mordechai Hackerman and Nancy Hackerman; grandchildren, Noach (Chani) Hackerman, Binyamin Hackerman, Mayer (Leah) Hackerman, Gamliel (Fayge) Hackerman and Miriam (Yossi) Blau. She is also survived by 27 great-grandchildren and many first and second cousins.
She was predeceased by her husband and parents; her siblings, Nathan (Doris) Patz, Marie (Sam) Cohen, Harold (Charlotte) Patz, Helen (Sidney) Chernak and Freda (Henry) Seidman; and her daughter-in-law, Esther Hackerman.
A private virtual funeral service will be held on Oct. 20. Contributions in Mrs. Hackerman’s memory may be sent to The Hackerman Foundation, 300 E. Joppa Road, PL 6, Towson, Md. 21286.