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Ruth Lilly

Ruth LillyAKA Ruth E. Lilly

Born: 2-Aug-1915
Birthplace: Indianapolis, IN
Died: 30-Dec-2009
Location of death: Indianapolis, IN
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Philanthropist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Philanthropic heir to Lilly fortune

Last heiress to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fortune, built by her great-great grandfather. She spent her final years confined to a wheelchair and hooked on Prozac, a product of Lilly, to treat her lifelong clinical depression. She gave a stock pledge of $100 million to Poetry magazine, which at the time had only four employees. In total, she gave away at least $740 million, mostly to the arts.

Father: Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr. (president of Eli Lilly, Inc.)
Husband: Guernsey Van Riper, Jr. (author, m. 1941, div. 19-Oct-1981)
Brother: Joisah Kirby Lilly III (d.)

    Risk Factors: Depression

Appears in articles:
Business Week, 16-Feb-2004, DETAILS: A Philanthropist of the Old School -- Ruth Lilly is among today's supergivers, but her style is definitely retro (p.77, two pages), BYLINE: Jessi Hempel
Wall Street Journal, 8-Dec-2003, DETAILS: Poetry Commotion -- Big Donation Roils a Literary Bastion -- Ms. Lilly's $100M gift shakes up staid journal; prosaic issues writ large, BYLINE: Robert Frank

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