Lila McKenzie (nee Adams) passed away in the Coronation Hospital and Care Centre on January 15, 2012. She was born in Coronation on April 22, 1914 to a pioneer family that came from Minnesota in 1907. Lila and her sister, Evelyn, were raised by their aunt and uncle, Anne and William Adams, after their mother passed away from “the flu” during the epidemic of 1918. The Adams were devoted parents to their girls, providing a secure, loving environment with emphasis on further education.
Although most of her life was spent in the Coronation area, she also lived in Hardisty and Spokane, Washington for a short time as a very young child. Lila was conscientious and excelled as a student. She always looked forward to entering her work in the school fair. She was the recipient of a set of classic books from the department of education when she won first prize in industrial Arts and Elementary Science. Another award was a scholarship to the Banff School of Fine Arts, where she later honed her artistic ability through summer sessions.
After Lila graduated from high school in Coronation, she attended Normal School in Calgary and became a teacher. Her teaching career during the 30’s and 40’s took her to the one room country schools of Evergood, Aberdovey, Bonny Doone, Moore, Asdee and Clinton. Students ranged from grade one to nine and sometimes ten. Lila boarded in the homes of farm families or lived in teacherages adjacent to the school. One of the farm homes that she boarded at was that of the Donald McKenzies.
On July 8, 1941, Lila was united in marriage to John Alfred (Ian) McKenzie. They had three children, namely Heather Anne, born in 1942, Ian Edward (Ted), born in 1949 and Jean Elizabeth, born in 1953. When the children were growing up, activities focused on “family and friends”. As well, Ian was busy at “the garage” and Lila, rather than returning to teaching (until she did substitute teaching in the late 1950s and 1960s) used her talents in the community.
With her ability in art work, particularly watercolors and oils, and her fine penmanship in the form of calligraphy, she was often asked to create items such as posters for the Eastern Star Worthy Grand Matron visits, the first sign for the Golden Age Club, and a sign for Marj’s Fashion Fabrics. Her paintings have been exhibited at various places in Coronation, including the museum and the hospital. Lila was a longtime member of the Fair Board and was Art Director for the Coronation Fair for about twenty years. Lila has been a lifelong member of Trinity United Church. She attended Sunday School as a child and later, as an adult, was a Sunday School teacher.
She belonged to Canadian Girls in Training (C.G.I.T) and was a member of United Church Women. When Ted was a Cub in 1950’s, Lila was a busy member of the parent committee and served as secretary/treasurer. She has been a committee member for school reunions and on the committee for the Coronation History Book that was published in 1979. She was a member of the Eastern Star Bessborough Chapter and served as Matron and as Past Matron.
Ian, Lila, and their children took a motor trip each summer and also spent time at Buffalo and Pine lakes with the O’Brien and Butterfield families. The family was part of the group that gathered at Hamilton Lake participating in motor boating and boat races during the years when the lake was deep enough. After the children grew up, Ian and Lila enjoyed trips to Europe, particularly Scotland and England, and to destinations in Canada and the United States. At home they spent time tending their vegetable garden. They were involved as grandparents to six granddaughters and one grandson.
Lila was always a keen photographer and made a photo album documenting the life of each grandchild, a copy of which has now been given to each of them. Ian passed away on March 25, 1990, her sister Evelyn in 1996 and her brother, Gilmer in 2006. Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who predeceased her were Margaret and Bill Hinton, Alister McKenzie, Pearle Bell, Bob O’Neil, Bessie and Stan Robson, Donald and Florence McKenzie, Dick Bruggencate and Frances Bice. Of her generation, Lila is survived by her brother, Ralph Bice and a sister-in-law, Helen (Gilmer) Landvik.
Lila is lovingly remembered by her three children, Heather (Ferdl) Taxbock, Ted (Dixie) McKenzie, and Jean (Bob) Wishloff; seven grandchildren, Kathryn (Mark), Barbara (Lee), Lindsay (Brad), Erin (Kirk), Caley (Dillon), Scott (Heather) and Kirsten (Matt); eight great grandchildren, Sawyer, Brody, Kadrie, Owen, Benjamin, Kira, Matthew and Carmen; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends. Lila was always very aware and appreciative of nature’s great beauty around her and the perfect harmony of God’s creation. The funeral service in honour of Lila Olive McKenzie was held on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 1 pm at the Trinity United Church, Coronation, Alberta, with Reverend Sue Hertell officiating. Barbie Evans and Margaret Evans played for the congregational hymns, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, “Unto The Hills” and “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” with the Trinity United Church Choir as leader of song.
Mark Bedard shared the eulogy. Granddaughters Kathy Taxbock and Barbara MacKenzie shared some of their fond memories. There was also a video tribute before the service. The interment was at the Coronation Cemetery following the service. Lunch and fellowship was held in the Golden Age Drop In Centre which was prepared and served by the Trinity United Church ladies.
Memorial donations may be made in Lila’s honour to the Trinity United Church Memorial Fund, Box 369, Coronation, AB, T0C 1C0, The Coronation Hospital Foundation, Mail Bag 500, Coronation, AB, T0C 1C0 or to The Coronation Cemetery Association, Box 115, Coronation, AB, T0C 1C0. You may send your condolences by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Heather Caseley of Coronation Funeral Home entrusted with the funeral arrangements. 1-888-578-2928. “Knowledge, Experience And Professionalism With A Personal Touch”
Cards of Thanks
Dr. Lynne McKenzie for years as Lila’s physician and also to Dr. Tolmie. The staff at the Coronation Hospital, DSL (Assisted Living), and Home Care. Rev. Sue Hertell for her supportive visits and officiating at Lila’s Celebration of Life. Barbie and Margaret Evans and the United Church Choir for providing the music.
The UCW for providing the lunch. Relatives and friends for their kindness, memorial donations, floral tributes, food, phone calls and sympathy cards. Heather Caseley and staff at the Coronation Funeral Home.
Heather, Ted, Jean and Families