Jill Louise (Stott) Perelman, a former Carmel resident, died May 10 in Montana at age 84. Born Feb. 14, 1931, at Grand Rapids, Minn., Jill was the daughter of Mildred Sweum and Calvin B. Stott, a district ranger on the Chippewa National Forest. Her maternal grandparents were Norwegian immigrants who ran the lumber mill in nearby Deer River. Jill and her younger sister Nancy developed a deep respect and knowledge for trees, plants and their identification through Calvin’s tutelage. During her education at the National College of Education in Evanston, Illinois, she worked as a student teacher at an inner-city school.
Educating children was a passion she never lost. In her 20s, she met and married Mel Perelman, and together they traveled, worked and made homes in Houston, Switzerland, central Indiana, and Heswall and Camberley, England. Before moving to Montana in her 70s, she donated a portion of her home and land to the Carmel Clay Parks Department. Now, ponds, trails and trees stand in an area that might otherwise have been developed. Today, there is a sledding hill named in her honor that teems with children after any snowfall. For 28 years, she volunteered at the United Way; for 32 years, she delivered Meals on Wheels. For these acts of volunteerism and many, many more, in 1994 Jill won a Jefferson Award, a nationally recognized honor.
Further causes Jill championed throughout her life included food banks, homeless shelters, the Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society and various Native American advocacy groups. She was a founding member of Greenspace, a group dedicated to preserving natural habitats. She also was a prolific fiber artist. Her surviving body of work includes original quilts, dolls, tapestries, clothing, journals and jewelry; rarely did an evening pass in which she was not hunched over the sewing machine, or propped up in bed, hands working while the television blared the 5 o’clock news. She was a member of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America and taught art workshops on numerous occasions. Perhaps her most intricate remaining works are her incredible array of Pisanki Ukrainian eggs, dyed and hand-painted in rich colors and complex geometric patterns. Survivors include her children, Steven (Sheree) of San Diego, Wendy Schrimper of Nashville, Ind., and Kent (Mary Shaffer) of Missoula, Mont.; and her grandchildren, Robert and Zachary, Nikki, Matthew, Michael and Dana, and Ethan and Leo; nephew, Scott; niece, Kirsten; and in-law, Sandy of Wisconsin. As of press time, a memorial had not been planned.