Carolyn Winifred Stein Stillman

Carolyn Winifred Stein Stillman of Clarendon Hills, a former longtime Hinsdale resident, passed away peacefully Feb. 18, 2024.

Anyone who has met Carolyn, even for just a short time, knows how her passionate presence and genuine ability to connect with people has left a beautiful and lasting impact on the world.

Carolyn was born in Chicago in 1926 to Aletta and Herman Stein, along with her brother, Herman Jr. While the world has changed significantly in the past century, Carolyn's vibrant spirit and love of learning has remained constant. It was very clear from childhood that she was meant to be an actress. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree at Smith College School of Theatre and her master's in creative dramatics for children at the University of Chicago.

In 1949, Carolyn married her Kenilworth neighbor and love of her life, DeWitt "Bud" Stillman, after just six dates. Carolyn and Bud raised three wonderful children together and created a loving home that was always open to strangers. Her openness and generosity were so well known that in a newspaper article celebrating one of Carolyn's many acting awards, the journalist wrote, "It is said that a short time using her third floor as your home address is a sure sign that your difficulties are coming to an end."

Carolyn loved to interact with people, give back and share her wisdom with others. Professionally, she did this both as a teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory School and as a prolific actress. Carolyn built a repertoire of one-woman shows that she wrote and performed across the country, telling the important stories of women throughout history. Her boundless creativity both entertained and inspired others to learn about the world.

After Bud passed in 1996, Carolyn did not close the curtain, but found the strength to open her third act. She was a very involved grandma and Oma. She mentored many young people over the years through her sewing, acting and Sunday school classes. It is not an exaggeration to say that she is the reason many women can face life confidently today. She was a devoted volunteer to causes she cared about, including several political candidates and her beloved church community.

Carolyn especially loved playing tennis and was swinging her racket through the summer season of 2023. She continued to express love through her garden, which was brimming with beauty in every season. Her loved ones and community will be forever grateful for the inspiring and full life that Carolyn lived, and the way she generously shared it with the world.

Carolyn is survived by her children, William (Carla) Stillman, Richard (Susan) Stillman and Jande (Tim) Hansen; her grandchildren, Lauren (Rob) Nofsinger, Mark (Heather) Stillman, Rosie Stillman, Katie Stillman, Whitney (Nii) Dodoo-Amoo and Sarah (fiancé Austin Helmke) Hansen; her nephew, Bob Stein; her daughter's sister-in-law, Amy Hansen; her five great-grandchildren; and many extended family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made online to Salt Creek Ballet at

A celebration of life will be planned for Carolyn in the future. To receive details, please send an email to [email protected] and include your name and contact information.

To see or share photos and memories of Carolyn or support for her family, visit her website at At the bottom of the website, visitors can post a "Lovekit" with words or photos they would like to share.