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Nancy Tribush Hillman has passed,
Yelm’s Community Theater Matriarch for over a quarter of a century!

Nancy Tribush Hillman
  • Editor’s note: Yelm community theater Matriarch for over a quarter of a century, Nancy Tribush Hillman, was stricken with a stroke at The Triad Theater on the afternoon of July 8th, and subsequently passed this afternoon, July 10th. At the time of her being stricken, Nancy was in rehearsal for the show “Giving” that she co-wrote, composed the music, and directed. The Triad Theater told the Yelm Community Blog, “‘The Show Must Go On,’ the mantra of every theater person!'” “Giving” is set to open in Yelm at The Triad Theater this weekend. Click here for details and to purchase tickets to see Nancy’s last triumph of her talented work.
  • Nancy has had a major impact in the lives of countless performers, crew, and theater-goers for her tireless work as founder, teacher and inspiration for Yelm’s Drew Harvey Theater, Standing Room Only (SRO) Theater Company, and the StageStruck Troupe [for our young folks].

From Nancy’s daughter Rachel Hillman:

“To all the beloved friends of Nancy Tribush Hillman: this is her daughter, Rachel, posting from her account. Two days ago, while in rehearsal, my mother had a major hemorrhagic stroke. Due to the incredible fast response of loving friends, she was immediately rushed to the hospital and given the best possible care. The stroke, however, was too severe for it to be operable and the damage too great to be reversible. Her doctors considered every option, and took every precaution, but the CT scans and multiple opinions were conclusive. Although she had been unresponsive from moments after the incident, she was – I am grateful to say – not in any pain. She was surrounded round the clock by loving community, and loyal friends who stood vigil night and day. Both my sister and I were by her side. I was able to kiss her, hold her hand, tell her how much I love her, and thank her with all my heart for everything she has been and done.

“This afternoon, after all proper medical protocol and testing, my mother was officially pronounced dead. As shocking and unexpected as this was, and as grief-stricken as we all are right now, it fills my heart that she was so loved, supported, and pain-free through this experience, and that she was fully herself and doing what she loved up to the very last. It is a testament to her widespread impact that so many have come to visit and filled the waiting room these past few days. She was one of a kind. Truly.

“I will make future announcements about memorial and funeral services, when we know what they are. In the meantime, if you have any videos or pictures of my mother, in any setting and at any stage of life, could you please share them with me? I want to collect as much as possible. Same goes for memories and stories. Please share them – in the comments here or feel free to private message me. I may share some on this page, as well.

“Thank you all for being a part of my mother’s wild and wonderful life. She loved her friends, family, and community more than anything. For years, the walls of her home have been plastered with pictures of all of you, people she cared about, talked about, worried about, and celebrated every day. You helped give her life the deep meaning it has had.”

The Yelm Community Blog sends love and blessings to Nancy’s daughters Rachel and Avriel and all who were touched and uplifted by her remarkable spirit!

Posted by Steve on July 10, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

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  1. What a deep shock. I just found out. Yelm has lost a great artist. My sincere condolences to all her friends and family.
    Lion of Yelm

    Comment by Edward Eugene Smith on July 10, 2019 at 8:16 pm

  2. Nancy Hillman is one the best people that ever happened to me. My life was changed forever upon meeting her. Many of my friends (many of whom I call family, now) would say the same of her. She elevated our dreams and then inspired us to achieve them.
    Thanks for sharing this with the community, Steve.

    Comment by Kevin McManus on July 11, 2019 at 12:21 am

  3. I can attest that I watched you blossom from a young man on her stage to the talented, poised and multi-faceted thespian you are today, Kevin. Nancy used her acting craft to have a vehicle here to utilize her vast experience, hence the Drew Harvey Theater was born in the early 1990’s. She took a sow’s ear of a vacant old building in town and converted that into the silk purse of a community theater, and stormed onto Yelm’s scene and inspired the acting talent here to achieve and rival the pride Mayor Shinn must have felt with his River City boys band with those 76 trombones in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. I was always amazed to enter her theater for each show to see what she did to convert a small stage into magic, and teaching shy locals with stage fright to express themselves to the delight of our community and themselves.
    I marveled at the class, the opportunity, and the passion Nancy brought to everything she did. That rare talent will be sorely missed here.
    Nancy’s contribution to the fabric of our town and local culture has been immense.
    She deserves our gratitude.
    Blessings to her devastated daughters and Yelm, as we all are now in mourning.

    Comment by Steve on July 11, 2019 at 7:57 am

  4. I remember when Nancy first worked in the theater at Yelm. Everyone know what a wonderful impact she had on the actors and audience of her many wonderful plays.
    She will be watching the play that will be going on “Giving.” and many will pay tribute to the great impact that she had on many.

    Comment by Judi Flanders on July 11, 2019 at 8:38 am

  5. I remember when Nancy first worked in the theater at Yelm. Everyone knows what a wonderful impact she had on the actors and the viewers of her many wonderful plays. She will be watching the play she was working on and will still be there with her daughters
    and many who so admired her talent and love for others.

    Comment by Judi Flanders on July 11, 2019 at 8:46 am

  6. Well said, Steve and Kevin and Edward. I can’t imagine Yelm without our little giant. So many love her so much. Blessings to Avi and Rachel and Nancy’s extended family in our community and throughout the country. Wishing you well on your way and tons of love, Dear Nancy!

    Marcia Keilee

    Comment by marcia keilee on July 11, 2019 at 2:31 pm

  7. My condolences to Rachel and Avriel, and the rest of Nancy’s family. Died in the Triad/Drew Harvey, eh? WOW. Only Nancy would do that – going out with her boots on.

    Nancy was a very special person to me – not only did she help me develop into the storyteller I’ve become, but she as also a dear friend. We watched the Academy Awards together last winter, and it was a light-hearted, joyful night of thespian camaraderie.

    Comment by Bruce A. Smith on July 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm

  8. So sorry to hear this sad news….my deep condolences to her family. I did not know her well, but was blessed to have had some conversations with her in past years and held huge respect and gratitude for her work here in our community. My daughter was in one of her summer classes/productions many, many years ago and loved the experience. She brought a professionalism and artistry with her work here that has made a significant difference to our community. We will miss her greatly! PS Rachael: I do have several photos of your mom I think you will love. Just messaged you on FB, but also letting you know here. I’d love to post them on your mom’s FB page if you’ll add me so that I can. Much love to you and your family.

    Comment by Rory Sagner on July 15, 2019 at 4:11 pm

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