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Tillie was born on December 30, 1943 in Fairholme, SK to George and Honorine Ducharme. She was the sixth born of eleven, a true middle child. Growing up, Tillie and her siblings had so much fun together. They enjoyed many activities over the years; the most memorable being fastball and singing at home and in the church choir. These beautiful voices were reunited years later when the “Soggy Bottom Sisters” made their debut at the Ducharme family reunion; unfortunately, they were asked to leave their washboards and jugs at home for future occasions. Tillie loved spending time with her siblings over the years. She always looked forward to their annual visits and the laughter that came along with them.
In 1962 she met the love of her life, Freddie Redhead, and they were married on May 23, 1964 in Green Lake, SK. They were blessed with four children; Fred, Tammy, Ryan, and Terry. Tillie and Freddie moved their family to Edgerton, AB in 1969. While Freddie was running his trucking company, Tillie stayed home to raise their children. She was a fantastic mother who had a knack for getting the truth out of her children without them even realizing. Tillie’s children participated in a variety of sports over the years. It didn’t matter if it was fastball, dancing, hockey, or figure skating; she was always in the crowd cheering them on along the way. Tillie was always there for her children; from the time they were babies to the present. She was always there to provide wisdom, parenting tips, a quick dinner recipe, or a shoulder to cry on whether it was in person or over the phone.
Tillie engaged in many activities in the small town of Edgerton, but she was best known for her role as manager for various hockey teams. Tillie had a loud mouth on her and was not afraid to voice her opinion during a game; especially when her opinion was different from the referees. Tillie’s lasting legacy in Edgerton will be her time spent running the Empire Restaurant on Main Street. Tillie was an excellent cook that brought in many customers from near and far. She made many lifelong friends during this time and was a well-known and loved member of the community. She was always there to provide a helping hand and never failed to put others’ needs ahead of her own; a true champion of the underdog.
Her family grew again when she was blessed with three beautiful grandchildren; Bryn, Colby, and Kelsey. Tillie was the best grandma, traveling to watch sports tournaments and dance competitions, coming to babysit when needed, and teaching many life lessons along the way. She taught her grandchildren how to cook, how to pick berries, how to drive, and how to love one another unconditionally. Tillie had a well-known love for animals, and she shared this love with her grandchildren; always ensuring to check in on their “fur babies” whenever she had the chance. She loved these three beyond measure and always bragged about their many accomplishments whenever she had the opportunity. Although they lived apart, Granny was only a phone call away and always made sure to stay up to date on her grandchildren’s lives.
Tillie moved to the country in 1995, where she became the tough lady we all knew and loved. She was not afraid to chop wood, slaughter a chicken, or haul buckets of water; and she did all of those tasks with a cigarette in her hand. Her house was termed “Granny’s Funny Farm” for her abundance and variety of animals she cared for. Tillie had dogs, cats, chickens, peacocks, turkeys, pot-bellied pigs, a sheep, and even a fox. She made many lifelong friends during her time in the country. She was always there to help her neighbours with any and all kinds of tasks. She always had a pot of coffee prepared for anyone that may drop in for a visit; ready to provide them with guidance or a listening ear.
Tillie was a beautiful woman, both inside and out. She had a comforting demeanor and a heart made of gold. Her smile was stunning and her laugh was contagious. Her humour was truly one of a kind. She was no stranger to a good joke and always had a witty comeback for any occasion. She was not afraid to speak her mind and always let you know what she was thinking; even if nobody asked. Her favourite hobbies included cooking, gardening, and reading. She had boxes upon boxes of novels that she would share with her siblings over the years. When she finally got her own cellphone, Tillie became known for her Facebook comments; mainly on political posts. She was not afraid to voice her opinion on the worldwide web, and only got banned from Facebook a handful of times. She also used the new technology to stay up to date with her family. She was always the first to like and comment on new photos or posts from her loved ones.
Tillie moved to Lloydminster in 2018 when she acknowledged that the winters were too harsh and that the chores required to run the farm were becoming too strenuous. She lived with Tammy for a large portion of her time in Lloydminster; although the two knew how to push each other’s buttons, they were best friends. Tillie loved going for drives, whether they be to a drive thru for a treat, or on a road trip with her children to a variety of places; all she needed was a pillow so she could see over the dash.
Tillie’s health began to decline following a fall in September. She spent many months in the Lloydminster Hospital, where she worked on rehabilitating her hip. She formed many great relationships with the staff and was always grateful for their care. Although she was a feisty lady who didn’t like being told what to do, she could always be swayed with an ice cream or dessert.
Tillie’s family rushed to her bedside for her last days. Her wishes were clear and her family ensured that her comfort was a priority during this time. She was surrounded by her loved ones when she passed. Tillie will be missed terribly by her family and loved ones. She has left a lasting impression on every person that she has met. The sparkle that she has left behind will continue to shimmer for years to come.
Tillie was predeceased by her parents, George and Honorine; her father and mother-in-law, Fred and Flora; her husband, Freddie; her daughter, Tiffany; her brothers Oliver, Marcel, and Bob; her sister, Leona; her son-in-law, Gerald, and her best friend, Carole Dallyn.
Left to cherish Tillie’s memory are her children, Fred (Korynna), Tammy, Ryan (Linda), and Terry; her grandchildren, Bryn, Colby (Myles), and Kelsey (Johan); her sisters, Christina, Yvonne, Theresa (Dan), and Bea (Andre); her brothers, Bert (Deb) and Harry (Karen); and many nieces, nephews, friends and loved ones.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists in the Emergency and Medical departments of the Lloydminster Hospital for taking such good care of Tillie. An extended thank you goes to the amazing health care aides on 3rd floor who took the time to get to know Tillie and always made sure she had a “good cup of coffee”, a pile of warm blankets, and a television to watch the Young and the Restless.
In keeping with Tillie’s wishes, a Celebration of Life will occur at a later date.
Donations in memory of Tillie can be made to the Canadian Lung Association or to your local animal shelter.