Stephen Engelman, 77, died Sunday at his home in Evanston, surrounded by his loving family and devoted caregivers.

Born Dec. 2, 1945, to Robert S. Engelman and Mary Strays Engelman, Steve grew up in Highland Park with older brothers Denny (deceased), Robert Jr. (Lynn Van Buren), twin brother John and younger sister Mary “Scooter” Hathorn (Byron).

Stephen Engelman. Credit: Engelman & Smith

Steve was an outstanding student and avid swimmer whose freestyle relay team held the Highland Park High School record for 30 years. Steve attended Dartmouth College and after graduation was drafted into the Army. A vocal anti-war protester, Steve was honorably discharged as a conscientious objector after serving 18 months. His experience fighting the draft inspired a lifelong fascination and deep respect for the law.

After receiving a juris doctor degree with honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law, he and dear friend Mark Smith opened the Legal Clinic of Engelman and Smith in a Chicago Avenue storefront in Evanston in 1976. He retired from the firm in 2018.

Steve married Betsy Stern, the love of his life, in 1975. During their 50 years together, Steve and Betsy cherished countless memories of skiing, traveling the world,] and sharing laughter and good times with their wonderful group of friends. They raised four children: Josh Engelman (Eve Teipel), Karen Storms-Rohm (John), Katie Bergart (Dave), and Jane MacLean (Dan). Steve’s eight grandchildren adored their PopPop.

Steve served as Evanston Township’s tax assessor from 1984 to 1991 and as alderman of Evanston’s Seventh Ward from 1991 to 2003. Known for his civility, keen intelligence and long gray ponytail, Steve was instrumental in the development of the Northwestern University/Evanston Research Park and Church Street Plaza.

A memorial celebrating Steve’s life will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at Lake Shore Country Club, 1255 Sheridan Road., Glencoe, on Saturday, May 6. Burial was private.

Memorial donations in Steve’s name can be made to the Evanston Community Foundation, 1560 Sherman Road, Suite 535, Evanston, IL 60201 ( or to organizations supporting Parkinson’s or cardiovascular health research.

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