Ila Mae (Nichols) Lotzer was born on March 16, 1926, the eldest child of Roy and Robina Nichols. She was raised on the farm near Rosalind. As a child, Ila’s chores included bringing in the cows from the pasture. When she was old enough, she learned to help milk the cows and take care of the chickens. The Nichols separated their milk, and took their cream to Rosalind, where it was shipped by train to Camrose. On Friday nights, the cans were shipped back to Rosalind and it was a treat for the kids to go into Rosalind with their parents to meet the train. Friday nights were a time to socialize at the MacDonald’s General Store or at the Benz cafe.
Ila married Elmer Lotzer on July 11, 1946. Her life as a farmer’s wife was similar to that of her life as a farmer’s daughter. While preparing for her marriage, Ila studied the Catholic faith with Monsignor Lyons, converted to the Catholic faith, embraced it completely and never looked back. Soon after their honeymoon, Elmer and his brothers were trying to decide who should drive their mom, Annie Lotzer to her CWL meeting that day, and they decided it should be Ila. Annie invited her to come into the meeting, paid for her lunch and bought her a membership. Since the secretary was absent, Ila was asked to take the minutes, and soon was elected secretary, a position she often held for many of her 50+ years of membership. Sharon was born in 1954; Diane in 1957 and Glenn in 1964. Ila planned for annual family vacations and worked tirelessly to get everything done by July, so they could travel, sometimes as far as southern California, sometimes family camping or fishing trips.
Hospitality came very naturally to Ila. While Elmer held band practice in the basement of their home, Ila served coffee and lunch to entire families throughout the evening. When the girls began teaching dancing in the basement, Ila served coffee to students’ moms upstairs. Eventually she taught some of these ladies to sew so they could make dance costumes. On other occasions, she and Elmer enjoyed having friends over to play cards. Even if guests were not hungry, she would serve lunch and people ate!
Ila spent hours cooking delicious meals and baking. Picking wild oats was bearable because dinner served at Ila’s was always an enjoyable and cordial break. She could be counted on to get lunch to the field during harvest. Even last fall, she insisted on riding out to the field to help serve lunch. Her garden was large and well-tended. She filled “spare time” sewing beautiful clothing, crocheting elaborate tablecloths and runners and decorating many birthday and wedding cakes.
It did not seem to matter if you were immediate family or in-laws or a friend, everyone loved her and they could always count on her kindness.
On February 5th, Ila’s doctor sadly informed her that she had a very aggressive liver cancer. She handled her final days with her usual grace and cheerfulness. She passed away on February 17, surrounded by her children, in St. Mary’s Hospital, at the age of 87. Ila was predeceased by her parents; husband, Elmer; sister, Connie Sheets; brother, Delbert; and brother-in-law, James Thirsk; and all of Elmer’s brothers and sisters.
Left to cherish her memory are daughters, Sharon (Kevin) Drader and Diane (Dennis) Lindroth of Sherwood Park; son, Glenn; one sister, Ellen Thirsk; sister-in-law, Joyce Nichols; grandsons, Chris (Holly) of Tangent, Alberta and Michael (Crystal) of Glendon, Alberta; granddaughters, Karilynn (Mike) Rajotte of Edmonton and Marissa Lindroth of Sherwood Park; great-grandchildren, Cole and Jax Drader of Tangent, Teagan Rajotte of Edmonton, Declan Drader of Glendon; step-great-granddaughter Hannah Rajotte of Calgary; as well as nieces, nephews, family and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated 11:00 a.m., Monday, February 24, 2014 from Our Lady of the Prairies Roman Catholic Church Daysland with Rev. Leon Kler as celebrant. Interment has taken place in the St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery, Bawlf.
If family and friends so desire, memorial contributions are gratefully accepted to St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery Bawlf, the Camrose Open Door, or to Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.