Obituary: Kenneth Lon Stillman

August 22, 1952 ~ February 17, 2023

Kenneth Lon Stillman, 70, of Sturgeon Bay, WI died peacefully at home on Friday, February 17, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. Ken was born to Marian and Howard Stillman in Menominee, Michigan on August 22, 1952, the second of three children.

Ken graduated from Menominee High School in 1970. He attended the University of Wisconsin Marinette.

Ken eloped with Karen Mavis Haley on November 18, 1971, in Menominee, MI before enlisting in the US Navy. The couple lived at the Great Lakes Naval Base while Ken studied electronics. Stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, Ken served on a submarine tender, the LY Spear, and the couple delighted seeing all the great bluegrass bands in the area. When discharged, Ken and Karen moved to Pembine, Wisconsin and started the popular Thunder Mountain Bluegrass Band with Bob Bradley, Ken Gaspar, Tony Martin and later Daniel Gifford. With the advent of the Apple II computer, Ken taught himself to program and wrote a business program for Christensen Machinery, assisted by Chris Bradley. When the Macintosh came out, he changed his focus to writing software for artists, creating PosterMaker and then PosterMaker Plus. Broderbund Software published PosterMaker Plus as Ken wrote their epic hit program, TypeStyler. Later when the rights were returned to Ken, brother David Stillman, mother Marian, father Howard & brother-in-law Peter Christensen joined Strider Software, Inc. and published several more great versions of TypeStyler. Ken & Karen then picked up their instruments again to play in The Green Bay Pickers with Eddie Biebel and Vickie Basar, plus The Cherry Pickers with Pete Evans, John Rood Lewis and Terry Murphy, and Highland Road with Andy Coulson, Tony Gebauer, Rick Gordon, and Tad Gilster.

Ken was an incredibly curious man, voracious reader, record holding track athlete, great lover of the outdoors, and lover of dogs, was a sailor, gifted woodworker, talented luthier, was a musician who became highly proficient on multiple instruments.  And all of this self-taught and gladly shared with friends, thereby being an inspiration to many.  Programming visionary and author of software used by designers across the world, Ken was self-deprecating about his many talents, kind to all — and really loved to play his beloved five string fiddle, with Karen always at his side.

Ken is preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Marian Stillman and niece, Jennifer Mahn.

Ken will be missed by his many friends and family. He is survived by his wife, Karen Stillman; sister, Nancy Stillman-Mahn; brother, David Stillman; uncle, Roger (Lyell) McConnell; niece, Sarah (Ed) Gomes; nephew, Ben (Lindsey) Mahn; niece, Alyssa (Tony) Totoraitis, great-nephew and nieces, Ryan Mahn and Grace Mahn, Emilia Totoraitis, Alice Totoraitis, Paige Gomes, and Hannah Gomes; sister-in-law, Lynn (Don Gamelin) Haley; brothers-in-law, Paul (Shawn Lauerman) Haley, Peter Christensen, Steve (Laila) Christensen, and Mark (Pamela) Christensen; sister-in-law, Leanne (Carter) Wells; nephews, Damon Haley, Briggs Haley, Quinn (Erica) Haley and Andrew Wells;  niece, Shannon (Jason) Wells-Bradford; great-nephew, Nathan Haley; and great-nieces, Eve Haley and Eden Haley; and many cousins.

The family will be holding a celebration of life for Ken on June 17th at the Fiddler’s Farm, 6951 County Road C, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin from noon to 5 pm. Please join them for an afternoon of music making and storytelling about Ken. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating in Ken’s name to your local humane society.

Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC of Sturgeon Bay are assisting the Stillman family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Ken may be shared with his family through his tribute page at