Lois Lehrman Grass, patron of the arts, community leader, dies at 90

Lois Lehrman Grass

Lois Lehrman Grass, a longtime Harrisburg-born arts patron and philanthropist, died Wednesday, days shy of her 91st birthday.

A ubiquitous presence in Harrisburg for many decades, Lois Lehrman Grass has long supported a host of causes in Harrisburg through her leadership skills, fundraising, volunteer activities and personal support. She has particularly focused on initiatives involving the Jewish community, the arts and health care.

On a personal note, in recent years Lois has become a dear and cherished friend of TheBurg, offering her friendship, advice, support and words of encouragement. She will be greatly missed. Our staff would like to offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

Here is Lois’ obituary:

Lois Lehrman Grass, whose lifelong dedication to community service earned her recognition as a distinguished girl from Pennsylvania, died September 21.

She was born in Harrisburg on September 30, 1931, the daughter of Benjamin and Rose Herman Lehrman, in whose memory she named the Lehrman Chapel at Temple Ohev Sholom, the Rose Lehrman Arts Center at HACC, and the Rose Lehrman Wing at Hebrew. University School of Education in Jerusalem.

Lois was a visionary community leader, often at the forefront of initiatives that led to the creation of long-term community assets, including the Jewish Family Service, the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, and the Capital Area School. for the Arts Charter School (CASA). . She was instrumental in establishing the Aurora Club for people with developmental disabilities as well as the Hamilton Health Centre. In her thirties, she served as president of the Harrisburg Red Cross chapter and the first woman to chair the United Way campaign. She believed in “making things happen”.

Although she deeply understood the importance of philanthropy, she was first and foremost a dedicated and highly respected volunteer. She devoted her insight, experience and resources to building community organizations and fostering organizations and talent wherever she saw promise and purpose. She worked tirelessly – often “under the radar” – to encourage and lead organizations and projects that she cared deeply about. Lois was particularly passionate about the arts and Judaism. She was a major supporter of the Jewish community of Harrisburg and Jewish institutions in the United States and Israel, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, where she was a founding donor.

His love and support for the arts has benefited many organizations. In line with a true patron of the arts, she has fostered the careers of promising young talents, often through commissions for their works. Concert grand pianos donated by Lois grace the stages of the Whitaker Center and the Rose Lehrman Arts Center. She was a founding member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and a member of the Museum’s National Advisory Board. In 1989, she was the first recipient of the Capital Region Distinguished Service to the Arts Award. Lois was known for her gracious hospitality. She loved good food, good drink and good company and she knew how to throw a fabulous party. She frequently hosted events at her home to benefit community organizations.

She is survived by her son Martin Grass and his wife Jody; son Roger Grass and wife Marina; her daughter Elizabeth Weese and her husband Brian; son-in-law Jason Shapiro; 15 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren; brother Gilbert Lehrman; brother Lewis Lehrman and wife Louise.

She was predeceased by her daughter, Linda Grass Shapiro, her sister Barbara Weinberg and her longtime companion, Bowman Brown.

Services will be held Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. at Temple Ohev Sholom, 2345 N. Front Street, Harrisburg. Interment will follow at Mount Moriah Cemetery, Strouse and Fritchey streets. Rabbi Peter Kessler officiating.

To honor Lois’ memory, contributions may be made to any Jewish, arts, or health organization of your choice.

Lawrance Binda is co-publisher and editor of TheBurg.

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