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Lillian DeEtte Brown DeMeester, daughter of Alva and Freda Brown, passed away January 4, 2023.
Born near Coutts on May 19, 1922, Lil later described the event: “I arrived before the doctor and when he examined me he said there wasnt much hope for me I wouldnt make it through the night. I was put in a shoe box up in the warming oven of the stove, fed with a medicine dropper I weighed about 3 lbs, mom’s wedding ring fit my arm.”
Lil’s early years, with parents farming on the Raymond ridge, included travel by horse, a one-room school, toting water up coulee banks, wind-blasted, snowy prairies, and wildflowers. She recalls one afternoon walking home from school alone, scared while tracked by a coyote.
She and older brother Cliff were eventually joined by siblings Betty, Fred, Dean, and Shirley. After graduation from Raymond High, Lil married Floran DeMeester on December 12, 1941. They would, over the next sixteen years, have Roberta, Linda, Wayne and Mark.
In 1951, Lil was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With the Church, she gave generously, including much time to family research and temple service. Beyond family and Church work, Lil also served her community; in 1952 she became a founding member of the Raymond Hospital Auxiliary, where for over 60 years she raised funds, quilted, cooked, met and visited as needed.
Over the eighty years Lil lived in her marital home, she carefully attended her yard and enjoyed vegetable and flower gardening. Her favorites included crocuses, gladiolas, and johnny jump ups. Lil’s cooking, well . . . . Hefty pancakes with crispy bacon; roast beef dinners, often with home-grown corn, potatoes, cucumbers, peas and carrots; carefully baked pies for dessert, and a few home-made chocolates to round out the day. Available always—ice cream.
Beyond gardening, Lil’s recreation and hobbies included board and card games, bird watching, and a stint playing badminton with a few competitive tournaments. Yet her greatest enjoyment came from family activities. They included July 1 family reunions at Raymond (with free-flowing homemade root beer, wall-to-wall tents, and 20 years of family floats) and August reunions with siblings and families at Park Lake. Over the years, she and Floran also traveled much by car and train to family afar, including trips to White Rock B.C., Seattle Washington, Salt Lake City Utah, and Carson City Nevada. On one such trip they lugged a new red tricycle, won in a raffle at the Raymond Merc, over 800 miles by train, which grandchildren promptly enjoyed.
In 1998, Lil was pleased when, as part of her progression with covenants, her family was sealed in the temple.
Together with sunny times, Lil unavoidably in her ten decades of life saw challenges and hardship. Floran passed in 2003, and Lil spoke occasionally of loneliness that resulted. Yet she focused on the good that life offered. Her family would describe her in later years as peaceful, optimistic, engaged, and ready for more experiences.
For someone not expected to live one full day, a great life. Happily, she will enjoy more joyful reunions.
Lil was predeceased by, among others, her husband, siblings Cliff, Fred, and Betty, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson. She leaves as direct descendants her four children, sixteen grandchildren, twenty-two great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
A brief graveside gathering and dedication will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2023, 3 p.m. at the Temple Hill Cemetery, Bishop Jason Miller presiding. A fuller memorial service at a Church chapel will be held later this year.
In lieu of flowers or other contributions, please feel free to donate to a charity of your choice.