With family beside her, Otillia (Tillie) Silbernagel passed away peacefully in the Rockyview Hospital on April 8, 2022, two days shy of her 98th birthday.
Tillie was born at Hague, North Dakota on April 10, 1924, where she spent her formative years alongside her siblings and parents on the family farm.
After finishing school in Hague, she moved to Bismarck and enjoyed her newfound life as an independent young woman. It was also there that she met her future husband August (Silver), from Canada, who was visiting friends in Bismarck after the war. A romance ensued and they were married in Bismarck in February 1947.
The early years in Calgary were busy ones for the young mother, raising an ever-growing family and keeping a busy social schedule. Silver and Tillie loved dancing, playing bridge, and enjoying the company of good friends, none more special than Kathy and Phil Streifel, who remained dear friends throughout their lives.
The foundations of her life were underpinned by family, faith, and community. She loved her children and dedicated as much time to them as a busy mother and homemaker could allocate. Tillie’s abiding Catholic faith never wavered and she attended Mass regularly until her death. She enjoyed the company of many friends, in many different areas of her life: the Catholic Women’s League (CWL), Knights of Columbus, bridge groups, travel groups and the church seniors' social group.
She was an avid reader and a lifelong learner; several years ago she published a memoir, which is still read by family members. She was also a talented knitter, constantly knitting sweaters for the kids and mittens for fundraisers.
Tillie contributed to community as a volunteer, a canvasser, and through school associations. Her proudest achievement, though, was volunteering at the Southwood Nursing Home, where for 48 consecutive years she assisted residents and staff in coordinating weekly mass. In 2021 she was recognized and honored by the CWL for 65 years of service in various capacities and for participating on numerous committees.
Tillie was predeceased by August in 2001, parents Joseph and Magdelena Zahn and daughters Bonnie and Shelley. She is survived by loving daughters Marlene (George - deceased) Bernett (Gary), Gail (Phil), Lori (Michael), Colleen (Don) Lynette (Wes) and sons Gary (Valerie), Tim (Christine) and son in law Barry (Bonnie). Her lovely grandchildren are Dan, Jodie, Shannon, David, Jess, Lawren, Heather, Sara, Mandy, Megan, Sharni, Taylor, Adam and Justin. And her grandchildren have been busy extending the family with nine great grandchildren; Jodie’s son Jack, David’s children Jade and William, Heather’s children Matea, Connor and Ethan, Sara’s daughter Lauren and Sharni’s recent additions, Leni and Mason.
Tillie was a loving mother, a dedicated wife and loyal friend. She will be greatly missed.
Thank you to Dr. Simmons, Dr. Lee and the nursing staff of Unit 74 at the Rockyview General Hospital.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on April 22, 2022 at 1:00 PM at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church (321 90 Avenue SE); evening prayers at St. Cecilia’s on Thursday at 7:00 PM.
At her request, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Red Cross Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis (www.redcross.ca/UkraineCrisis/OtilliaSilbernagel)
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Red Cross Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis
1305 11 Avenue South West, Calgary AB T3C 3P6