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Edna Tuttleman, 92, Philanthropist

January 29, 2014 By:
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Edna Tuttleman

Edna Tuttleman, 92, a designer and prominent philanthropist who left a significant mark on the city’s cultural and institutional skyline, died Dec. 18.

She lived in Merion Station.

Her philanthropic signature in the city is legendary; the Tuttleman name graces many a famous building and institution throughout the region, including the Tuttleman MAX Theatre at the Franklin Institute; Tuttleman Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; the Tuttleman Learning Center and Tuttleman Counseling Center at Temple University; the Tuttleman Library at Gratz College; and the Tuttleman Chapel at Temple Adath Israel, among many others.

The Temple University graduate started making her name known early on at school, becoming the first female elected head of the student organization.

Serving in the WAVES during World War II, her talents for encrypting and decoding messages were recognized and duly employed by the Navy, giving her an important role in conveying and decoding sensitive messages. 

Post-war, she wed Stanley C. Tuttleman, a prominent and prosperous businessman whose business’ fiscal and design elements she managed at the Corner House operation, later sold to another company.

She was actively involved on the arts scene, serving as board chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She served on the board at Temple University.

The Tuttleman name certainly adheres not only to a number of buildings in the area but serves as an adhesive to fond memories held tightly to their hearts by those who knew Edna. 

Rabbi Eric Yanoff of Adath Israel recalls the trips — 10-minute walks from the synagogue — he and the temple’s preschool kids, joined by their teachers, would take to what

the children called Mrs. Tuttleman’s Museum.

The art-filled home would

be the backdrop for their “concerts.” “They would sing songs and she would join in,” he said. “And afterward, they would go into the kitchen and she would serve ice cream.”

The former Edna Shanis, she is survived by three sons, Steven and David Tuttleman and Zev Guber; a daughter, Carol Shanis Guber; a brother, Joseph Shanis; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

A daughter, Jan Shanis Tuttleman, died in 2012.

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