RIP – RUTH LILLY


EXPIRED: 12/30/09 – Ruth Lilly, 94, was the last of the long line of Lilly’s. And that’s something to be sad about. Luckily, her sadness, in the form of acute depression could be managed by her very own company’s most popular product.

Lilly’s great grandfather was pharmaceutical magnate Colonel Eli Lilly, and his millions came from the Eli Lilly & Company pharmaceutical holdings, of which she was the sole living heiress. So with a grandfather like that – and the millions he left you, you shouldn’t want for much. But as the saying goes, money can’t buy you happiness.

She was a true philanthropist, but a bad poet. So she made headlines in 2002 when she pledged stock worth $100 million to the Poetry Foundation, a Chicago nonprofit that publishes Poetry Magazine. Why the headlines? She’d been submitting her own poetry for years and they kept rejecting her.

She also liked to give money directly rather than through a foundation. So around Indianapolis you’ll find the Ruth Lilly Hospice, the Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, the Ruth Lilly Health Education Center, the Ruth Lilly Law Library, and the Ruth Lilly YMCA Outdoor Center.

The other thing that bore her name was prescription bottles. She battled depression for most of her life but was helped greatly by Eli Lilly & Co.’s Prozac, since it came on the market in 1988.

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