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Ila Ann Olson

Ila Ann Olson

Ila Ann Olson, 82, of Bemidji, MN, died Sunday, April 21, 2013 at Tender Hearts Assisted Living, Blackduck, MN.

Funeral Services will be 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Bemidji with Fr. Stephen Schmit officiating. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m., Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji and one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Bemidji.

Ila Ann Diffley was born on April 5, 1931, to Marian and Jack Diffley of Becida, Minnesota. She was the first of seven children including Nina, Mike, Henry, Larry, Terry and Patty. The family lived in Becida on a small farm and later moved a few miles down the road to the family farm. She attended the Sunny Hill School through the tenth grade. One of her special teachers was Celia Olson, who later married into the Olson family and become her aunt. In her high school junior year, she moved to an apartment at 10th and Bemidji Ave because Becida was too far of a daily commute.

Ila was extremely active at Bemidji High School. She was an officer on the Student Council, played Viola in the school orchestra, was a member of the National Honor Society, Girls Chorus, and was the secretary of the State Chapter of FHA (Future Home Makers of America). In her senior year, she won the honor of a trip to the National FHA Conference in Kansas City, Missouri as the Minnesota State Representative.

Ila worked hard on the family farm, milking cows, haying, picking rock, canning, and tending to all of the little brothers. She met Daral Olson during her Senior Year at a barn dance on Memkin’s Farm. They were married on August 3, 1949 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Bemidji. Daral and Ila moved to Seattle for a short time, which was a grand adventure for Ila. Daral was too homesick, so they moved back to Minnesota. They lived in Coon Rapids, both employed at the Federal Arsenal in North Minneapolis. They returned to Bemidji where Ila worked at Ben Franklin and the Markham Inn Hotel. Ila was the office manager for the trucking and logging business she and Daral built together over many years. Throughout their loving marriage, they took many trips including multiple cruises, road trips through the blue grass mountains and the “Grand Ole South”, train trips to west coast, east coast and everything in between. After Daral passed in 1995, Ila continued her travels with trips to the British Isles, New England, Yellowstone, and multiple bus tours throughout the United States.

Ila was a dedicated member at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, and considered the entire congregation to be her beloved second family. She served as member of the Bishop’s Committee for many terms, the Episcopal Church Women’s Guild, various search committees, Altar Guild, Cursillo, Soup Kitchen, Sunday School Staff, Church Choir Christmas Wreath Committee, and countless other special services.

Ila adored springtime, welcoming the robins and prize iris’s with joy and smiles. She was an avid contributor to the local paper “letters to the editor” and a habitual recycler before it was popular. She enjoyed her enormous vegetable garden, canning, sewing, reading, family gatherings, playing games with the grandkids, having Dilly Bars always at the ready, keeping meticulous business ledgers, and collecting every family momento possible.

Ila is survived by her children David (Jerrie) Olson, Nila (Dick) Bassett, Michael Olson (Nancy Maki), Daniel Olson, Julie (Paul) Loxtercamp; 10 grandchildren; sisters Nina Anderson of Blackduck, Patricia Kluzak (Duane) of Bemidji, and brother Terry Diffley (Jean) of Bemidji; sisters-in-law, Beth Diffley of California and Judy Diffley of Minneapolis.

Ila was preceded in death by parents Jack and Marian; beloved husband, Daral “D.E” Olson- brothers Mike, Hank and Larry Diffley – in-laws Edwin and Harriet Olson brother-in-law Glenn Olson, brother-in-law Lawrence Anderson, and sister-in-law, Mimi Diffley.

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