LILA ELIZABETH McCONNEL
June 30, 1944 ˜ December 5, 2020
Lila Elizabeth Ludahl McConnel passed away peacefully at the age of 76 on Dec. 5, 2020, with her husband at her side. Lila was born in Portland, OR, June 30, 1944, to Robert Truman and Lillian Elizabeth Eaton Ludahl. Lila’s mom couldn’t decide on a legal name until she was six months old, so Lila was called “Peachie” until then. This nickname stuck and many family members called her Peachie her entire life.
Highlights from Lila’s childhood included taking care of her younger siblings, berry picking, spending many nights at her maternal grandparents’ home and listening to all the music her relatives played during get-togethers.
At a young age, Lila decided she wanted to go to church, so she started riding the bus by herself to go to Sunday school each week. At Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver, WA, Lila marched in the Pep Band, volunteered with Future Nurses of America as a candy striper, and played field hockey and varsity tennis. She also loved reminiscing about how she danced on the stage of High Times, Portland’s local version of the TV show American Bandstand.
In 1963, Lila left home to attend college at Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, ID, where she earned her elementary teaching credential and played singles and doubles on the tennis team. Lila met her husband Paul at NNC and they were married for 53 years.
Lila had a lifelong passion for teaching. She began her teaching career playing “school” with her younger siblings and neighborhood kids. After graduating from NNC in 1967, she taught full-time in Portland for two years before turning to the full-time work of being a stay-at-home mom.
She lived in New Orleans and then Fort Defiance, AZ, before settling in Caldwell, ID, with Paul and her two young children in 1973. When her kids were grown, Lila returned to full-time teaching for another decade at Nampa Christian Schools and Greenleaf Friends Academy, and then as a substitute teacher in Caldwell. She was a dedicated Sunday school teacher and a tutor for any kid who wanted to learn. Lila had a heart for helping underprivileged children and families in her community.
Lila remained young-at-heart until the end despite her five-year battle with skin cancer that gave her so much pain the last couple months of her life that she couldn’t sit comfortably. When anyone suggested that she sit down and relax, Lila would start singing the African-American spiritual, “Oh, Won’t You Sit Down,” in which the person asked to sit down says, “No, Lord, I can’t sit down. Just got to Heaven, gonna look around.”
She wanted to laugh and make the most of the time she had. And we did laugh together: we laughed while planning a funeral service with no chairs. We also laughed at the silly fun we’ve had over the years, like the time she gained notoriety in a prominent article in the New York Times due to her antics “cheating” stuffing tater tots down her shirt - at the tater tot eating contest in Preston, ID, during the Napoleon Dynamite Festival. Another example of her joy of living was the time Lila got herself into a battle with an unruly sheep while on a bus tour of Norway. The sheep took a bite out of Lila’s apple at the same time she did, so, of course, Lila bit down harder. It was delicious, after all! Ultimately, she relinquished the apple to the sheep who seemingly needed it more than she did directly underneath the large “Do Not Feed the Sheep!” sign.
As a family, our best memories in later years involved sitting around the table laughing and talking as we played board games like Flinch (Lila ALWAYS won), Settlers of Catan and Five Crowns.
We love you and we miss you, Peachie, sister, wife, mom, grandma and friend. We will never forget you.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com
or share a memory @ www.columbian.com/obits