MISSOULA ~ Matilda (Tillie) Viola Lofftus (née Ebel), 85, of Missoula, Montana, passed away on February 28, 2023.
Tillie was born on March 25, 1937 to Elsie Clara (Bader) and Henry G. Ebel at home during a snowstorm in Antelope (Hebron), North Dakota. Tillie was the third of nine children and lived in Antelope until the death of her father in 1953 when the family moved to Missoula to be close to her mother’s family. Shortly thereafter she began working at St. Patrick Hospital in the laundry to help her family.
Tillie enjoyed country music and dancing at the Moose Lodge with her sister, Alice, where she met James (Jim) Alan Lofftus. They were married on December 1, 1956 and went on to have four children. Jim’s work as an electrician took them to Washington State for a couple of years. The family returned to Missoula in 1963 and lived in the Target Range Trailer Court until they moved to Turah in 1972.
Tillie began her career as a cook in 1969 - first at the Double Front Café, then 4B’s Café, Florence Hotel restaurant, and Harold’s Club in Milltown. In 1986, Tillie and a friend bought Captain’s Fish and Chips on West Pine and later moved to South Avenue. Tillie finished her career working at Trenary’s, retiring in 1996.
Tillie was a fantastic and wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a quiet, thoughtful person with a quick wit and beautiful smile. She always put her family and friends first and gave encouragement and comfort to everyone. Her kindness and intelligence was a gift that enabled her to lift our spirits and help everyone in her life to be better than they thought they could be.
She enjoyed photography. One of her favorite things was capturing the many faces and moods of the moon in her photographs. She also loved to watch animals in her yard, especially the deer. She loved and cared for the lilac bushes and peonies that were given to her by her mother. She cultivated the peonies from a few to an amazing 100-foot row.
Jim and Tillie enjoyed their 50th anniversary trip to Hawaii so much they made a second trip a few years later. They enjoyed traveling throughout the western states especially to national parks including Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Yosemite, Craters of the Moon, and Mount Rainier. Many of their excursions were enjoyed with their children and grandchildren.
Tillie was predeceased by her husband Jim, her parents, and her brothers Morris and Harvey. She is survived by her siblings Alice, Nora, Ernie, Roy (Maxine), Fran, and Fred (Pam). She is also survived by her children Susan Kilcrease (Lloyd) of Missoula, MT and their children, Danielle, Matthew, Bryan and Bridget; David (Sharon) of Helena, MT and their children, Elizabeth, Rosalie, Michael, Angela, Catherine and Cynthia; Wyatt (Bev) of Renton, WA and their children Kyle and Ryan; Lyndon of Winnemucca, NV; and many great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place. There will be a memorial service on Saturday, May 6th at 1:00 pm at the Orchard Homes Country Life Club at 2537 S 3rd Street in Missoula.
Arrangements are under the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home and Crematory in Missoula.