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Lillian Berman, 87, Owner of Wayne Toytown

October 12, 2006
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Lillian Berman, 87, owner of the Philadelphia area-based toy store Wayne Toytown, died Sept. 27 at Abington Hospital. The former Lillian Levitt, she was a resident of Elkins Park.

Known to everyone as "Mrs. B," Berman built the high-end toy business with her late husband, George Berman. Even after his death in 1977, she continued to own and actively manage the business.

The flagship store was located in Wayne, Pa., on Lancaster Avenue, with three other branch stores throughout the Philadelphia area, as well as the toy department at the former John Wanamaker's in Center City. The business was started in 1961 and officially closed in 1997.

From Madame Alexander dolls to all-wooden swing sets, Wayne Toytown and the Bermans sought out rare, high-end toys from all over the world to bring to Philadelphia, buying at toy fairs in Copenhagen, Nuremberg and London.

Berman's clients included the likes of former President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat.

After closing the business, Berman devoted more time to family and charities, including Hadassah, the National Tay Sachs & Allied Diseases Association and Congregation Adath Jeshurun of Elkins Park.

A lifetime member of Hadassah, Berman was honored in June with the "Leadership of the Year" award by the Ben-Zvi Hadassah group. In 1998, Berman attended the international Hadassah convention in Israel.

Before starting Wayne Toytown, George and Lillian Berman ran the family business, M. Berman & Sons Hardware & Housewares in Strawberry Mansion.

Berman is survived by daughter Barbara Berman Shotz; son Dr. Marvin Berman; sisters Ann Mester, Dorothy Cohen, Clare Davis and Selma Levitt; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Donations in her memory can be made to: the Lillian Berman Fund of Ben-Zvi Hadassah. Checks should reference the fund and be made payable to: Hadassah, 1518 Walnut St., Suite 1518, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

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