West Chester’s Gerry Mahoney Tilghman Remembered as Skating Prodigy and Ice Capades Star

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Gerry Mahoney Tilghman
Image via The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Gerry Mahoney Tilghman.

Gerry Mahoney Tilghman, formerly of West Chester, a dynamic ice-skating prodigy and later a headliner for Ice Capades, died on Sept. 16 aged 88, writes Gary Miles for The Philadelphia Inquirer

Tilghman, who was also a model and skating teacher, was a natural-born skater.  

During her teenage years, she left high school before her senior year and quickly became an international sensation. She starred in elaborate ice shows in the United States and Europe as Cinderella, Goldilocks, and other characters from 1951 to 1956. She was especially celebrated for her amazing spins, physical artistry, and smooth skating. 

In September 1951, the then producer and president of Ice Capades John Harris said that Tilghman “is the best possible prospect we have had for stardom in the 12-year history of Ice Capades.” 

When she grew weary of touring, she decided to bypass professional skating and turned to modeling. She married Walter T. Spelsberg in 1956, with whom she had a son Bill and daughter Lilla. 

Off the ice, Tilghman rescued animals and was often seen at Brandywine Valley SPCA. She also volunteered at hospitals. 

Read more about Gerry Mahoney Tilghman in The Philadelphia Inquirer

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