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Selma Brodsky, Aeronautical Engineer, Dies at 90

March 30, 2011
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Selma Brodsky, 90, an aeronautical engineer and communal activist, died March 18. She was a resident of Wyndmoor, Pa.

Brodsky attended Girls High School and, after a year at the University of Pennsylvania, attended Wellesley College from which she was graduated in 1941.

After a short stint as a statistician at the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society in Philadelphia, Brodsky took a job in New York City at an aeronautical engineering design firm. She became so interested in helicopters that she continued to work for the firm while attending New York University graduate school to study helicopter design, science and engineering.

In 1947, she and Bernard Sznycer designed and built the first helicopter prototype in Montreal, the first Canadian-built helicopter.

Following her time in Canada and New York City, Brodsky received a research internship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, Mass., and then attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

She never finished medical school but rather chose to raise a family and become involved in many Philadelphia philanthropic and community organizations.

Brodsky was active with the Philadelphia Brandeis University Women's Association and was involved with local politics in Springfield Township, Montgomery County.

She also was active with the Springfield Township school's PTA organizations.

Her volunteer work included typing Braille books for the Philadelphia Association for the Blind and being an active member of the Philadelphia Women's Golf Association.

Being an accomplished bridge player, the last several years of her life included playing bridge 4 to 5 times per week; her other appointments were always scheduled around bridge dates and Meadowlands Country Club bridge team matches. She was the longest living member of Meadowlands, joining in February 1951.

She was presented with a Life Master certificate in bridge from the American Contract Bridge League.

Brodsky is survived by a daughter, Bess Brodsky Goldstein; son Jeff A. Brodsky; and three grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Harold M. Brodsky, and a son, Bart I. Brodsky.

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