In Memoriam: Stephanie Wolf ’98
Stephanie was born on May 2, 1979 and soon began to show her unique personality. Many people fell in love with her. She was born with a form of dwarfism, but it was clear that she was small in body only. She had a wonderful way with children from early on, which later led to her profession as an early childhood educator. When she was eight years old, Stephanie gave up her privilege of being the youngest to a little brother. So she grew up as one of five in a household at Beaver Run with many other children and adults, festivals, plays and all sorts of noise, of ups and downs of life.
When she was still a preschooler, she once ran in from her play outside and said: “Mom, why don’t I grow fast like other children? Has God forgotten me? Is He too busy with making babies?” We took a moment together. I said “Well, you know how people always like you right away, say when we go out somewhere. Perhaps He has a special plan for you…” So she ran back outside again to play.
In the house at home she would take on the new co-workers. A stool by the sink gave her enough height to do the dishes with them, plenty of laughter echoing from the kitchen or she would take them out in her little blue car with extension pedals. She formed strong and lasting friendships.
As a student at Kimberton Waldorf School and in our Camphill community she was never judged by her small appearance. She developed many skills in the arts and crafts, however, the academic learning did not come easy to her. But with some extra help she succeeded, also when she went to study at Antioch College in Ohio. She worked at what was hard for her until she got better and left with a teacher’s certificate. When someone asked her recently why she did not become a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, she said that she liked to yell at children and could not do all this singing! Stephanie was always straight forward. She had excelled in common sense. She did not show much patience for “fluffiness.” She would usually tell you what she thought. But she had a great heart and sense of humor, teasing us mercilessly. She was a truly grounded person.
She worked for eight years in the Baltimore public school system at the Glenmount Elementary-Middle School, where she became a lead teacher. After this time she knew most of the children in the entire school. She brought much of her artistic creativity from her Waldorf background to her job with those children. She was experienced as a positive cheerful energy in that school, never mind what she may have had to carry personally as challenges.
Independence was very important to Stephanie. She had her own car, her own house, her circle of friends. She managed to travel both in the States and overseas on her own. Her trip to Thailand and her time among the elephants there was one of her favorites. As an adult her back needed to be operated on twice. After the second operation in 2015 left her without any feelings in her legs she stayed for a long time in rehab, trying to regain some ability to move again. She went back to work with a wheelchair, scooter and walker and moved in with her older sister Brenda and family. About a week before she became ill, she passed the driving test for a van with hand controls. She was ready for another step into independence again. Moreover her aunt, Ete, had invited her to a family gathering in Germany, which Stephanie was planning to attend in 2018. She was regaining her confidence and independence again. Stephanie had been ill with flu symptoms for a couple of days. When she went to the hospital early in the morning on February 22, she was sick with a bacterial blood infection which resulted in septic shock. It is not clear where this came from. The doctor told us by 11:15pm that they were not able to stabilize her condition. So now she has moved on to go on a different journey with her courageous heart and free spirit.
– Else Wolf