Carolyn Ann Steinla

September 30, 1942 - November 25, 2019

Carolyn Ann Steinla, age 77, of Charles Town WV, passed away peacefully while in hospice care on November 25th, 2019 at the Adler Center in Aldie, VA. She was born September 30, 1942 in Cumberland, MD and was the daughter of the late Paul E. Steinla and the late Avery C. Baird. Interment will be at the Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney, WV.

She graduated from Allegany High School in Cumberland and continued her education at James Madison University in Virginia. She was also a very good drummer, leading her own band while earning her Bachelor of Arts degree at college.

Carolyn was a public-school educator for 44 years, teaching English in Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. She was a staunch advocate for gay rights and enjoyed helping people and spending time with friends and family.

After retiring, she volunteered at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Charles Town and at the local library, reading to the children.

She found pleasure through reading, playing music and practicing gourmet cooking. She treasured the winter holidays, especially when there was snow on the ground or falling through the air.

Carolyn greatly cared for animals and generously supported the Humane Society while loving her own pets, including her latest two dogs, Remy and Zoey.

Beloved teacher, advocate, cousin and accomplished musician, Carolyn leaves behind numerous friends, colleagues and former students. Her loving nature, kindness and generosity will be truly remembered in the hearts of many. Her favorite quote, from William Shakespeare was “That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Carolyn Ann Steinla

Beloved Friend, Daughter, and Teacher

Defender of Human Rights, Animal Welfare Advocate

A True Inspiration to Friends, Old and New

We Will Never Forget You Carolyn

Rest in Eternal Peace

Jamie Kidwell January 23, 2020

3 condolences for “Carolyn Ann Steinla”

  1. This is an ode to Carolyn Ann Steinla, whose passing I learned of today, nearly four months after the fact. I knew her initially as my eighth grade English teacher. But she quickly earned the role of the feistiest, most unique and memorable personality I’d ever come across.
    One needed not spend much time with Ms. Steinla, not Mrs., as she demanded we take note, to realize that she was the first and perhaps only of her kind that would pass through most of our lives. She had no fear. She needed not force an agenda, but responded sharply and effectively to the slightest whiff of intolerance—of her—of ourselves. She created an environment of inclusion long before such things were in vogue and fostered a safe space for those not cut from the typical cloth. But I do believe her greatest gift was doing all this without ever conceding that anyone, including herself, were different.
    She wove Shakespeare in and out of common parlance and turned everyday speech into rhyming pentameter. Casting out a pupil with whom she’d had enough—she’d rise to her minuscule stature, bearing the shadow of a giant, stare them down with fiery intensity and bellow “Out, out, damn spot!” She once hurled a stapler at a classmate, but did so with such grace and intention that no one dared call it inappropriate. Many things she did could have called for censure. But she did them with such a natural ease and grace, that they awed far more than they offended. The purple TOWANDA sticker on her desk was an understated subtext that set the stage on which she danced.
    She liked to stop at Captain D’s for dinner alone on the way home from school. She had been a high school friend of Roberta Flack, and serenaded us in class one day with “Killing me Softly,” just prior to Lauren Hill getting her hands on the song. She sometimes complained about the deterioration of her earlobes, and used her frequent coughing fits to teach us how to spot consumption. She once told the story of how Percy Warren, then dean of James Madison University, had agreed to some particularly unlikely concession for her, just prior to being killed in a hurricane. Her lesson? “Always get it in writing.” I think of her every time I apply this principle.
    There will be many moments in the years ahead when my mind will conjure some obscure memory of the marvelous things she did and said. This will always lead to either a guffaw of laughter, or that deep sense of gravity that comes in the face of true wisdom.
    She’d sometimes leave us in the middle of class to go “check in with Mrs. Madden” about something. It makes me very happy to think of the two of them together, just outside the back doors of heaven’s “C Wing.” There are plenty of role models that follow the rules, and I had more than my share of them by the time eighth grade rolled around. I am so grateful to have had in Ms. Steinla a role model that showed me how to lean against the rules gracefully and with dignity. Change doesn’t occur otherwise.
    Thank you, Ms. Steinla. “And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest…”

  2. Carolyn was my best friend, I miss her every day. She always made me feel so welcome while visiting her home. Carolyn was generous, not judgemental, very intelligent, curious about the world and great company. She would talk me through cooking a dish over the phone and did that quite often as she was a gourmet cook, it was her grandmother that sparked her interest and taught her how to cook. Carolyn was very much a family person. She was very kind and loving towards my children. She loved to play board games, we spend hours around her dining room table doing just that. Nobody can ever take her place in my heart. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a popular reference to William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, this was her favorite quote. Carolyn, you worked hard and played hard, and when the end was drawing near you faced it with honor and courage. Thank you for all the years of friendship.

  3. I just learned of Ms. Steinla’s passing from a fellow, former student of hers. I am so incredibly sad to hear this. I was fortunate to have her as a teacher over 50 years ago and we reestablished contact a few years ago. She was truly a great influence on me and an excellent teacher and director. May this lovely woman rest in peace secure in the knowledge that she touched so many lives.

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