Carolyn Ann Hylander, a 41 year resident of Manhattan Beach, passed away peacefully on Sunday, December fourth at the age of 62. Carolyn was surrounded by her many loving friends and her family as she fought to beat the illness that, in the end, took her before her time. Carolyn was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she aspired to become a teacher and worked her way through college at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. After receiving her bachelor's degree she moved to California and started her teaching career at Huntington Park High School. While working as a teacher, she earned her master's degree in Family Finance from California State University of Long Beach and, shortly after, married and started her family. She then began teaching at Mira Costa High School where she created her own fashion design program that prepared many of her students for college at FIDM Fashion Institute. She loved decorating, cooking, sewing, and music and passed these skills on to both of her children. She had an amazing sense of humor and believed that laughter was the best medicine; she always tried to laugh at least once a day. Her great compassion for others resulted in her house always being full. Whether it was band practice, the swimming pool, or even just a place to sleep, she always welcomed the neighborhood children and treated them as if they were her own. Carolyn is survived by her son Jonathan, daughter Jennifer and her husband Jerry; her sister and brother-in-law, Christine and Dan Hylander, her niece Cari Ann Mueller, nephew Joseph Hylander and great nieces, Nena and Ellee. Memorial services will be held on Saturday December 18th at 1:00PM at First Lutheran Church of Manhattan Beach located at 1100 N Poinsettia Ave. The service will be followed by a luncheon at Carolyn's sister's house.

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  1. Dear Jonathan and Jenny, I am so very sorry to hear about your mom. She was a dear friend of mine. We hadn’t spoken recently, I did not know anything was wrong. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you both, please cherish the wonderful memories you have of your mom. She was first and foremost a great mom, and I will always remember her as a wonderful friend. Love, Barbara

  2. Carolyn was a beautiful and gifted woman and Steve and I are sorry for her family and friends’ loss. We will be at the service next Saturday.

  3. So many years of fond memories and fun times that will live in our hearts forever. We have all lost a true and cherished friend and will miss her always. Our sympathy goes out to all her family and closest friends. Lois and Sheldon

  4. On behalf of my daughters Hanna and Holland and myself, we wish to express out deepest condolence on the passing of your mother. Both my girls had Carolyn as a teacher at MCHS and I had the opportunity through this and other circumstance to know Carolyn. I cared deeply about her and am saddened by her passing. We will be in attendance on Saturday. God bless each of you.

  5. Carolyn Highlander – Was Our Neighbor & Our Friend We were very proud and honored to call her our friend. She was funny and caring, interesting and curious, a beautiful soul inside and out. She was a great neighbor, a caring friend to all who crossed her door step – whether on two legs or four legs. Carolyn loved her husband, Jerry very much, she adored her beautiful and talented children – Jen and Jonathan. Her eyes lit up when she told stories about her family. She loved being a Mom, a teacher and an educator. Carolyn’s “calling” in life were her children and her students, whom she loved unconditionally at any age. Her extended family were kids of all ages, sizes and backgrounds. She believed in them, she tried to empower them. She took the time to point out their abilities to them, always gently, without insulting them. Her “gifts” to her children and her students were her patience and support. As the Dali Lama would say, she approached life with an Open Heart. Carolyn had real patience, the patience of a saint. She had this marvelous gift to see good in all people no matter how they treated her. We were always struck by her ability to turn the other cheek; it was truly remarkable at times. It was important to Carolyn to make sure people were happy. She loved arts and crafts, music, reading and crossword puzzles and most of all, the Christmas Holidays. I am happy she went to God at Christmas, it was her beautiful destiny. No matter what time of year, we always enjoyed Carolyn’s company. We would go to movies, share books together or just enjoy times over dinner or, just walking our dogs together. Since I travel frequently she was a vigilant neighbor for our property and a loyal friend and companion to my wife, Suzanne. Carolyn Highlander was a gentle soul and a gifted spirit. She tried in her own way to respect life and people on a daily basis. She respected people for who they were no matter what their stage or lot in life. She was humble in her approach to all but if you listened closely, the teacher in her gave great advice and guidance. In all of Carolyn’s challenges in life, while she did not always succeed she really never stopped trying. I believe Carolyn’s true destiny was to teach us all about unconditional love. I believe despite her struggle with life’s challenges, she really understood that better than most people – that, the only one thing that really matters is love and kindness. She practiced it every day. God Bless you Carolyn, May God Keep You Safe and Hold You in His Arms Until We Meet Again…… All Our Love, We Will Miss You Always, Ralph & Suzanne Heckert

  6. Each day as I awaken I look across the yard to see Carolyn’s beautiful home. A home always filled with love and laughter, a home Carolyn worked so hard to preserve for family and friends. Carolyn was a true and loving friend and neighbor. She welcomed my entire family into her life and we all enjoyed many happy times at Christmas and throughout the year. When one of Carolyn’s many dreams came true – a swimming pool – we spent many hours together just loving that she finally got the pool she always wanted. Carolyn’s goals and dreams were always about bringing family and friends together. Her happiness was all about giving to and loving others. Today I look across the yard and I am overwhelmed with a sense of emptiness, I miss my friend very much and I am saddened that the demons she fought so hard finally won. I am comforted by Carolyn’s devotion to God and knowing that she is with him at Christmas, but really I wish she was at home decorating the tree and preparing for the upcoming holiday. We all love you very much Carolyn and your kindesses will remain in our hearts forever. The Ostendorf, Evans and Vandermark Families

  7. Carolyn you will be missed by our family immensely. We loved getting to know you over the last few years since your retirement! Our hearts are very heavy right now with sadness as we walk by your home everyday. You were a genuine and loving friend to many. We were so lucky to have become part of your life in the last few years. Nicolas and I have many many happy memories hanging out by your pool, where you always welcomed us. It did not matter how many boys ended up at your pool – I knew that we were always welcome. You had a true gift of being so kind and genuine. We hold onto the good times and feel blessed that you were in our lives even for a short time. Rest in peace dear Carolyn. May your family find peace and comfort in the fond memories that they hold in their hearts.

  8. There are many of us who knew Carolyn from before her California days. A large group of close college sorority friends drifted out from Illinois to California, settled, and never looked back. Even as we began careers and got married, we never lost that close bond. In fact our group expanded with local friends, boyfriends, husbands and of course the Nevada faction. We all remarked over the years how unusual and very fortunate it seemed that such a large group of friends stayed so close. Carolyn was in the heart of our group always. She was often the point person that organized many birthdays, Christmas parties, or impromptu beach gatherings over the years. I can still see her holding court at the beach with her stories that made us all laugh. I can still hear that laugh of hers. She had a silent “take” that Johnny Carson would have envied. Carolyn was a beautiful woman in many ways;she was a great mother, teacher and decorator. Carolyn was a magnificent friend. It’s hard to believe she is gone. Carolyn touched the lives of so many,many people. I am one friend who was so fortunate to know her. I feel privileged that she was someone that I met in my late teens, forged a friendship with and was able to go with her through so many journeys (both good and bad) in our ever evolving adulthood. Chris, Jerry, Dan, Jen, Johnathon, I am sorry I cannot be there with you. Carolyn and all of you have been in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be so. Love to you all, Diana Taylor Peterson

  9. To: Jonathan,Jenny,Gerry,Chris and Dan…You are all in my thoughts and prayers… Remembering The beauty of a memory is that it’s always there. Like a penny in your pocket,you can take it anywhere. And when your heart is heavy and your eyes are filled with tears, You can focus on a memory, and travel through the years. Your heart can visit happy times when laughter filled the air, and the presence of your loved one, will lessen your despair, so as you travel on in life, take comfort as you go in a lifetime of “sweet memories,” of one who loved you so! I wish all of you an abundance of strength,peace,and love…

  10. It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write this for you, my dear and beautiful friend, Carolyn. I shall miss you more than you will ever know. In the few years we have spent together we became so close. You were my girlfriend, my walking companion, the big sister I never had and my neighbor, who everyone wishes they had. Always wise, always calm and always gracious. My friend, with a huge heart, a big smile and an infectious laugh that will stay with me forever. With all of the tough hurdles you encountered these last few years, never once did you complain. You always took life as it came each day, never showing your own pain and sorrow and alway there for those around you who needed help. I shall miss you terribly, my sweet girlfriend. Our lunches together, our crazy yoga classes where we laughed so much when everyone else was so serious. Our nightly walks with Lulu and Cali. Those days you would play dress up and practice walking in 3″ heels. You were always determined to look fabulous for those special occasions you loved so much. I can hear your laughter now as you would would do “the model walk” up and down my deck. You were always my sunshine in those dreary days when Ralph traveled and you were ready to explore anywhere, any time with me. My dear friend with a kind and generous heart. I love you Carolyn. I shall miss all of those special days we spent together and those we had planned when I returned from Florida. You will be in my heart forever. May God bless and keep your star shining bright in heaven. Until we meet again….Suzanne

  11. To Carolyn’s family and loved ones I want to express my deepest sorrow at our loss. I read with tears in my eyes the lovely tributes to her from the people who were much more fortunate than I who knew her and got to spend so much more time with her than I did. Carolyn opened her home and heart to me as an unknown guest of the many dress parties she hosted over the past few years and I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in not only the purpose of purchasing, but the wonderful refreshments she provided and the careful detail to presentation which went with her personality of making everyone comfortable in her home. The last time I was with her was at Suzanne’s for a lovely and memorable “girls” dinner party where I was able to spend more quality time and get to know Carolyn better and realized what a lovely woman she was. I had often wished I had the opportunity to spend more time, but that was not to be. She will be in my heart and prayers and I envy those who had even more memories of this sweet soul. Noreen Clark

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