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Stanley Tuttleman, Global Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Dies at 87

August 17, 2006 By:
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Stanley C. Tuttleman
Stanley C. Tuttleman, 87, a clothing manufacturer and global entrepreneur who was perhaps best known as a philanthropist supportive of both Jewish and secular causes, died Aug. 3 at Lankenau Hospital of complications resulting from a fall at his Merion Station mansion. He had been ill and had battled prostate cancer for two years.

Tuttleman's name is ubiquitous in and around his native Philadelphia. Among other institutions he'd funded and had named after him: the Tuttleman Library at Gratz College, the Tuttleman Chapel at Temple Adath Israel, the Tuttleman Contemporary Art Gallery at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Franklin Institute's Tuttleman Omniverse Theater.

"He would say that I want my name on these buildings to show people what the potential of giving is," said daughter Jan Tuttleman, 49. "He gave so much. Not only of his money, but also of his time. He sat on so many boards and so many committees. He was a role model to the community."

Gov. Ed Rendell was among the speakers at an Aug. 8 public memorial service held at Adath Israel, where Tuttleman and his wife Edna were longtime members.

"Stanley Tuttleman was an incredible philanthropist and benefactor for the arts, culture and education," said Rendell in a statement. He'd gotten to know Tuttleman well during his tenure as mayor of Philadelphia.

"Stanley was an extremely gentle and kind person whose success in business disproved the adage that nice guys finish last," Rendell added.

While not especially religious, friends and family said Tuttleman displayed a lifelong concern for the welfare of the Jewish people. Jan Tuttleman said that in the past 10 years he had grown increasingly interested in studying religious texts, and he had largely shifted the focus of his family's grant-writing foundation from arts and cultural to specifically Jewish causes.

"He was a visionary about opportunities to expand Jewish learning in the community," said Gratz College president Jonathan Rosenbaum. Stanley and Edna Tuttleman received honorary doctorates from Gratz in 2001.

Rosenbaum said he and Tuttleman spoke weekly, sometimes more often, to discuss the college as well as the future of Jewish learning in the community. Many times they ended their meetings by discussing a passage from the Torah or Talmud.

"He had an incisive mind, and he was very willing to share his ideas," Rosenbaum said. "He challenged you to think and dream."

Ande Adelman, senior vice president of financial resource development at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, first met Tuttleman 40 years ago at Adath Israel. She said he had been at the center of every capitol campaign undertaken by the shul.

"He was always there when you needed him," recalled Adelman. "He would guide you, but he didn't dictate."

Born in West Philadelphia, Tuttleman graduated from Overbrook High in 1936. Four years later, he earned a bachelor's degree in economics at the University of Chicago.

He enlisted in the army in 1941 and served as a field artillery officer during World War II. He saw combat in North Africa, Italy and Europe, receiving the Bronze Star Medal.

After being discharged in 1945, he worked at Wilson Bros. clothing manufacturing plant in West Virginia. In 1953, he returned to Pennsylvania and married Edna Shanis. The couple settled in Bala Cynwyd.

He then founded Quakertown shirt manufacturers; and in 1960, opened his Corner House store, which specialized in inexpensive women's clothing. Within a decade, he'd opened roughly a dozen stores on the east coast, and he began accumulating a growing fortune.

During this time, his daughter recalled, he would often rise before dawn and drive to Quakertown in his beloved Ferarri, returning at dinner time telling the latest story of how he'd talked his way out a speeding ticket.

Jan Tuttleman said her father always possessed a spirit of adventure, which drove him to meet extraordinary challenges in business.

In the early 1970s, he founded Mast Industries, which became a global leader in clothing manufacturing, with factories in nine countries, including China, India and Sri Lanka.

Before the onset of economic globalization, Jan Tuttleman said her father went to the island nation without knowing a soul, somehow arranged a meeting with the minister of trade, and before long opened one of the first factories in that country.

"He would see openings, and opportunities, where others would not see them," she said.

In 1980, he founded Midshipman, a company that specialized in women's sportswear. Later he and his son Steven created Highland Associates, a company that bought failing businesses and then resold them for a profit.

A lifelong athlete with a passion for sailing, tennis and skiing, Tuttleman took up bicycling when he turned 70. Throughout his 70s and 80s, he biked thousands of miles in Pennsylvania, New England, Colorado, Israel, New Zealand and central Europe.

On his 80th birthday, he rode 80 miles from the Main Line to Margate, N.J. At 83, he became the oldest person to bike from one end of Colorado to the other.

"He loved adventure, he loved challenges," said Bob Glazer, who started out as Tuttleman's orthopedic surgeon, but soon became his friend and cycling partner. "He loved the outdoors and physical activity. He was a multi-faceted man."

In addition to his wife, daughter and son, Tuttleman is survived by another son David, stepson Zev Guber, stepdaughter Carol Guber, and 10 grandchildren. He was buried in a private ceremony.

 

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