Steve Engelman.

Steve Engelman, an attorney and former Evanston alderman, has died at age 77.

Engelman represented the 7th Ward on the City Council from 1991 to 2003 and had previously served as Evanston Township Assessor for eight years.

Born in 1945, he grew up in Highland Park. After graduating from Dartmouth College, he was drafted into the Army. A vocal anti-war protestor, he was honorably discharged as a conscientious objector after 18 months.

After earning a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, he and classmate Mark Smith opened The Legal Clinic of Engelman & Smith in a Chicago Avenue storefront in Evanston.

Engelman continued with the firm until his retirement in 2018.

Former Evanston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jonathan Perman said he worked closely with Engelman on economic development issues, including the Research Park and town/gown relations.

“Steve practiced politics with a smile, a great sense of humor and always welcomed new information and opinions,” Perman said. “He outworked nearly everyone and his passion for Evanston was infectious. He was adept at building coalitions among his colleagues on the City Council and other stakeholders. Evanston had no better public servant than Steve Engelman.”

Engelman is survived by his widow, Betsy Stern Engelman, four children and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Lake Shore Country Club, 1255 Sheridan Road in Glencoe, from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. I will miss Alderman Steve Engelman! He fought for the well-being of his Ward when he opposed Northwestern University’s attempt to host professional sports (Tennis) in the 90’s. Steve actively fought against NU’s attempt to change Evanston’s zoning laws. He clearly understood that it was imperative, as innumerable alder people before him did, not to allow NU to host for profit events, and he protected the quality of life of the residents in his Ward, and protected Evanston from the broader negative ramifications of setting a precedent for a non-profit organization to act as if it was a for profit entity.
    I speak for a large contingent of Evanston residents: we are forever grateful to you, Steve.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *