RATH, Lila Leona
March 8, 1921 — March 5, 2023
With great sorrow and heavy hearts, Marjorie, Arnold, and granddaughter Debbie held Lila Leona’s Rath’s hands as they guided her (a matriarch of 5 generations) to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on Sunday afternoon March 5, 2023, with daughter-in-law, Brenda, nearby. Lila was to celebrate her 102nd birthday in 3 days.
Lila was born March 8, 1921, in Medicine Hat, Alberta. It was the closest hospital to her family homestead in Richmound, Saskatchewan. Lila was the fifth child out of eight (the first baby was a little girl who was stillborn) to William Chester Stearns and Ruth Eva Stearns (née Monroe). Her parents immigrated to Canada in 1916 from Ainsworth, Nebraska, USA.
Lila’s siblings, Ruby (Mark) Stodolka, Frieda (Martin) Yeast, Lola (Emil) Mallack, Ray (Delores) Stearns, Roy (Beth) Stearns, and Dorothy (Leonard) Anderson all predeceased Lila.
Growing up in the prairie town, Lila experienced bitter cold winters and hot, dry summers but still enjoyed some great adventures, riding horses and driving a horse and buggy. Lila loved to sing as a girl, and she taught herself how to play the guitar. Her idol was Wilf Carter, and she prided herself in learning all his songs from listening to them on the radio. She even taught herself to yodel. Lila loved to write in her journal and continued that practice through a good portion of her life, leaving lots of adventures for her family to enjoy.
Lila married Alfred Carl Rath on February 17, 1937, and gave birth to Marjorie, Shirley, and Arnold before the family moved to Kelowna, BC in February 1942, where she had Rodney. Alfred found work managing several orchards in East Kelowna, while Lila helped in the orchards. Every fall, she would sort apples at the Kelowna Grower’s Exchange Packinghouse. In 1964, Alfred got hired at SunRype, so they moved into town and bought their first home on Martin Avenue. Lila then got a job as head housekeeper at the Stetson Motel on Harvey Avenue, where she worked for 10 years before retiring.
Lila and Alfred were so proud of their home on Martin Avenue. Every Christmas Eve, the entire family (along with 7 grandchildren) would fill the rooms for a delicious Christmas feast prepared by Lila. Every summer, there were many Sunday picnics in the backyard, where the grandchildren loved playing hide and seek amongst the hedges.
They sold their first home in the late 1980s and together with their son, Rodney, purchased a larger home on Flemish Street, where the Christmas Eve tradition continued until 1996.
After Alfred and Lila retired, the pair spent a lot of time camping, fishing, and travelling through Alberta and Saskatchewan in their truck and camper. The couple dreamed of heading to Alaska, but never made it there before Alfred passed away following a stroke in 1989. Lila continued to live in her Flemish home with her son to the age of 93, when in March 2014 she moved into Harmony Living on Laurier Avenue.
Lila loved to knit, and she made countless baby blankets, sweater sets, and many other items, before putting down the knitting needles for good, when arthritis made knitting a struggle.
Lila was predeceased by her husband Alfred (d. 1989); great-great-grandson Lynden Phoenix Parker Beger (d. 2019); son Rodney (d. 2021); son-in-law, Otto Beger (d. 2021); and brother-in-law, Edwin Rath (d. 2022). Edwin Rath, was also gifted with longevity, passing away 4 months shy of 103.
Lila is the proud grandmother to seven grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, and nineteen great-great-grandchildren with one more expected soon in April 2023. Great-Great-Grandma Rath has posed for many five-generation pictures.
Lila’s is survived by her children, Marjorie Beger, Shirley (Wayne) Gillard, and Arnold (Brenda) Rath.
Doug (Lorna) Beger & family: Bradley & Nathalie Beger – Merrick; Lynsie (Nik) Zimmer – Lukas & Myles; and Ashley (Troy) Strobel – Alexa, Ava & Kyran.
Debbie (John) Harford and family: Christopher Harford – Zealand; Kristina (Bayan) Pourmokhtari – Alonzo & Theo.
Greg (Colleen) Beger.
Kelly (Brenda) Gillard: Kara McMillon – Keegan & Aria; Candace (Alex) Gerk – Abagail & Emilia; Caylie (Norm) Mathers – Cassius & Kelly; and Brett (Emma) Gillard – Laila.
Terry (Renee) Gillard and family: Kaitlyn, Natasha & Dillon.
Lorie (Darren) Morcome and family: Carol Gillard (Jeffrey Kilpatrick) – Hudson; Colin (Toni) McCormick – Everest & imminent baby to be; Tye Morcome.
Aunt Lila is survived by many nieces & nephews from both the Stearns and Rath families.
In lieu of flowers, Lila has requested donations be made to KGH Foundation, www.kghfoundation.com.
A Funeral Service to honour Lila, with Pastor Lester Mesenbrink officiating, will be held on SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2023, at 10:00 AM, at SPRINGFIELD FUNERAL HOME, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC. Interment will take place at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery at 1:00 pm.
For those wishing, a Viewing will be held Friday, March 10, 2023, from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, also at Springfield Funeral Home.
The family would like to thank the following people for their loving care of Lila over the years: Dr. Grant Chamberlain, May & staff at Harmony Living, and all the staff of David Lloyd Jones Home.
If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.
Friday, March 10, 2023, from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Springfield Funeral Home
(2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC)
SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2023, at 10:00 AM
SPRINGFIELD FUNERAL HOME
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The service for RATH, Lila Leona is scheduled for SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2023, at 10:00 AM. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.