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Selma Ellis Fishman, Designer and Philanthropist, Dies at Age 84

May 6, 2010
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Selma Ellis Fishman, 84, a designer and prominent figure in the city's artistic and social spheres, died April 26 in her Merion home.

Before her marriage to the late William S. Fishman in 1982, she was known nationally for her "Selma Ellis Originals," custom-made party invitations.

"Selma Ellis Originals" branched into commercial advertising, creating brochures and gala invitations for fashionable stores, including Philadelphia's Nan Duskin Store and Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

After her marriage to Fishman, she gave up her design business, and became known as one of Philadelphia's movers and shakers, with board membership of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Jewish History and "Bread Upon the Waters," an organization that provides scholarship grants to academically gifted women with financial needs.

Fishman was a member of Har Zion for 63 years.

Born Selma Jean Demchick, she attended Gratz High School and graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1947, she married her first husband, Harold S. Ellis. They were married for 32 years until his death in 1979.

Fishman is survived by a daughter, Jill Feningerson; a son, Joshua Ellis; stepsons Alan Fishman, Fred Fishman and David Fishman; and four step-grandchildren.


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