Raymond Perelman told The Associated Press on Sunday that the couple had been married for 70 years after they met in Greensboro, N.C., where she was going to college and he was running a plant for his father.
"She was well-loved by everybody and was also generous and participated with me in all of our philanthropies and charities," he said from his home in the tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.
In May, the University of Pennsylvania announced that the School of Medicine would be named after the Perelmans after their donation of $225 million, which the Ivy League university described as the largest gift in its history and the biggest ever nationwide that was made to name a medical school. The university said the endowment would enable innovative health research, increased faculty recruitment and more financial aid for students.
Other major donations by the couple have included $6 million for the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, $15 million for the Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and $3 million for the Perelman Jewish Day School, which has campuses in Lower Merion Township and Melrose Park, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"Whoever knew her, really loved her because she was a kind person, and one who always remembered birthdays and anniversaries and children," Raymond Perelman said. "She was good, just plain good."
Raymond Perelman, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus, heads privately held RGP Holdings Inc., which includes manufacturing, mining and financial interests.
Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, said the city had lost "a most beloved and consummately gracious public citizen."
"Ruth's generous spirit and strong commitment to education, medicine, and culture in Philadelphia will be remembered for countless generations to come," Gutmann said in a statement.
Ruth Perelman is also survived by the couple's sons, Ronald and Jeffrey, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, her husband said.