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Carole Boughton Whitcomb | The Gazette

Carole Boughton Whitcomb

Evanston, Ill.

Carole Boughton Whitcomb lived a full and vibrant life, raising her family in Evanston, Ill., while also pursuing her career; Whitcomb passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 25, 2022, at the age of 83.

Born in Hebron, Neb., to Harris Allen and Geraldine Lorraine (Webb) Boughton, Whitcomb spent most of her formative years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she was very involved with her church choir and became a first-chair violinist in her high school’s orchestra. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Iowa State University and was honored to be Editor of the “Bomb” yearbook her senior year.

Notorious for offering a fresh perspective, Whitcomb co-founded The New School in 1968, following an emerging educational philosophy that children learn best at their own pace without restriction; the school, located in Decatur, Ill., was featured with a 10-page article in Life Magazine.

During her 30-year career, Whitcomb held non-profit management positions, primarily in higher education with Northwestern and Yale Universities, the Associated Colleges of Illinois and retired as president of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education. She also was director of Major and Corporate Giving for the American Bar Association.

Whitcomb served on the Boards of the Brunswick Charitable Foundation, the Executives’ Club of Chicago, the Goodwill Dwelling Association, the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities, the Stamford (CT) Symphony Orchestra and the Liberty Prairie Conservancy; she was also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the University Club of Chicago and the RAND/Council for Aid to Education National Steering Committee.

Always an advocate for education, equal rights and opportunity, Whitcomb opened numerous doors for many to follow. She was quietly on the leading edge of women’s rights, often breaking through the glass ceiling. Whitcomb mentored many colleagues and friends navigating new waters, both professionally and personally.

In retirement, Whitcomb co-founded Life Stories, an organization that interviewed individuals to produce detailed biographies in the spirit that everyone’s life story deserves to be told.

Her quick wit, inquisitive nature and feisty spirit will carry on through her two children, Jeff (Melanie) Whitcomb and Jenny (Anthony) Hill; and five nicknamed grandchildren, Christopher “Sweetheart,” Allison “Sweet Pea,” Grace “Peachy,” Emily “Angel,” and Julia “Sugar.” Her family was central to her life; she retired to Prairie Crossing, Ill., building a lovely family destination home across from a park and lake where the annual family photos were always snapped and are cherished more now than ever.

Whitcomb lived with Parkinson’s Disease for 14 years, displaying few symptoms until the last few months of her life. And, though she didn’t want to leave this world, her reality wasn’t how she wanted to live either. She led a life of growth and engagement, encouraging conversation and friendship with everyone she met. She will be greatly missed by those who knew her, forever in our hearts.

The memorial service will be held at 11 am July 9, at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60202. Bring your favorite memory to share!

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