Hilde Staniulis was born in 1920 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the third of four children. She was forced to leave Germany when the Nazis came to power. She first went to Palestine, where she lived and went to an agricultural school before working at a private farm — quite a change for a girl from the city, she said. During her last year in Palestine, Hilde was an apprentice to a German photographer.
Hilde joined her parents and two of her siblings in Hyde Park in 1941. The trip from Palestine to the United States took 66 days because the ship avoided a direct crossing of the North Atlantic, where there were German submarines.
Her first job in Chicago was at a photography studio. She worked for many years at Statistical Tabulating Corporation doing their bank reconciliations.
A lover of music and books, Hilde met her husband, Dominic, through a book group. Their Hyde Park apartment was filled floor-to-ceiling with books. Hilde and Dominic loved to travel, and she loved to show pictures of their trips to her nieces and nephews, who marveled that Hilde was always in pumps and white gloves in the pictures. Dominic died in 1995.
Hilde taught herself to play the recorder. She was a past president and member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Recorder Society, which honored her with a luncheon in 2014 for her 50 years with the Society. She was President of the Chapter in 1988 and established the bi-annual Composition Competition that continued until 2008. Hilde also taught recorder as a volunteer at Murray Elementary School. Hilde was delighted when members of the Society saluted her 100th birthday, in February of 2020, with a recorder rendition of “Happy Birthday” in the style of many different composers.
She is survived by nieces and nephews, whom she called “the best in the world.” A memorial celebration will be held post-COVID. Condolences can be mailed to her niece at: Barbara Kaufmann, 6121 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please make a contribution to the charity of your choice.