Lila Steffes, 73, passed away peacefully February 19, 2023, surrounded by family.
A memorial service will be held 10:00 AM, Friday, Feb. 24, at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck.
Burial will be held in the spring at Mandan Union Cemetery.
Lila was born Oct. 13, 1949, in Mandan, ND, to Donald and Pearl (Christian) McDowall. She was the youngest of their four children and was always proudly claiming her spot as the baby of the family. Lila’s family lived in many different places in North Dakota but her very early years in Almont always elicited fond memories and stories.
Lila met Dan Steffes, the love of her life, at a Lost Souls dance in Mandan. She loved to tell the story of how she used false pretenses to introduce herself to the “good-looking guy in the corner.” Lila and Dan were married for 54 years. They had two children, Kristen Lee and Michael Scott, who were the joy of their life. Lila was a Hockey Mom, a Band Mom and an adoptive mom to anyone who wanted one, and sometimes even when they didn’t.
Bringing good to people in her community was important to Lila. She was a strong supporter of the Girl Scouts, starting as summer camp counselor and then working for many years for the Sacajawea Council of Bismarck. She then worked at St Mary’s Catholic Church as their bookkeeper and cemetery manger. If Lila saw a need, she would act. She even ran for Mayor of Lincoln, ND, in the late ‘70s. She jokingly said her “pro-water” campaign did not resonate as well as the “pro-cable TV” message. Retired life brought Lila time to spend with family and friends, and to become addicted to video games on her iPad.
Those lucky enough to have known her learned from the examples of a life well-lived. Life brought Lila challenges and while she may have had significant reasons to despair, she refused to do so.
Where a person might expect bitterness, Lila chose hope.
Where anger might be predicted, Lila chose forgiveness.
And when in doubt, she always chose to love, to laugh, and to encourage.
Lila did not come by these qualities without the determined effort it would take any of us to be generous. But she was faithfully willing to do the hard work required to be a good mom, wife, sibling and friend.
Her whole life has been a testament of what courage, tenderness, humor, and being unfailingly fierce are supposed to look like.
Now that Lila has been freed of burdens, we are all left with a deafening silence, all the better to recognize how deeply she touched our minds and our hearts and to fully appreciate that, by her unfailing example, we are better people.
She is survived by her husband, Dan Steffes; and daughter, Kris Snow (Steve) and brother Rex McDowall (Joyce).
Lila was preceded in death by her beloved son, Michael; brother, Gary; sister, Sandra; and parents, Donald and Pearl McDowall.