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Tillie Wolf

March 30, 1930 - November 8, 2019

Tillie Wolf

 

March 30, 1930- Nov. 8, 2019

Tillie was born to dirt poor farmers after the stock market crash of 1929 and the beginning of the depression.

Tillie was the third of four girls born to Michael and Mary Erhardt Scholl of Fallon, North Dakota. Michael farmed and operated the family blacksmithy until his death in 1934.

Born with club feet, Tillie endured multiple surgeries, braces and therapy and was unable to walk until age seven.

Due to her disability, she was unable to work in the fields, so she was delegated to bake bread at age 6 without any instruction on how to do so. She remembers that the bread was “unfit to eat”.

Tillie lived with a foster family in Mandan the year she turned eight. She said that was the best year of her childhood. She was doted on by the foster kids as she was the youngest. All of the kids attended the matinee every Saturday for 5 cents.

Tillie worked for her room and board through high school and lived with surrogate families in Mandan to be able to complete her education. She graduated from Mandan High school in 1948.

Tillie attended Teachers College in Dickinson and graduated with a teaching certificate. She taught elementary school in a small one room schoolhouse in 1949.

Tillie met Ernie at age 15 through a mutual friend, Elmer. During this time Tillie was working at a Café in Mandan. Once Ernie left for boot camp, the two began writing to each other.

Ernie entered the Navy at age 17 and was discharged just prior to his 20th birthday. When Ernie came home from Norfolk, he brought a ring and proposed. Tillie never wanted to marry a farmer and so she said “Yes”.

It was Tillie’s idea to marry Ernie on his 20th birthday, little did she know that it would be 108 degrees that day, August 8, 1950. Harry Steckler (Ernie’s cousin) and Rita Scholl (Tillie’s sister) would witness their union and form a lifelong bond themselves just 3 years later.

Times were tough initially, unable to keep working, Ernie and Tillie moved around. First they lived in a trailer by the Missouri river in Bismarck. After Dennis was born in 1953, Tillie and Ernie decided to try their luck in Portland. Ernie worked for Nicolai Door for a few months, then returned to North Dakota with baby Dennis in tow.  Unable to find work in North Dakota, Tillie’s sister Mary said “come to Michigan, there are plenty of jobs here”.  Tillie and Ernie settled in Michigan for the next ten years and completed their family. After living in Michigan, they decided to move to the Northwest near Tillie’s family.

Shortly after moving, was the beginning of the camping and motorcycle years. The Wolf family would meet with the Seidler’s and Raben’s at Beard’s Hollow on the Washington coast for family fun. Baseball on the beach, campfire singing with the Uncle’s playing guitar, wave jumping and digging out cars that were stuck in the sand were just some of the fun.

Tillie started back to work after all the kids entered school. She worked for Montgomery Wards in the office, but she always had time to bake bread on weekends and make cookies for lunches. During the 70’s, Tillie began working for OECO. She performed office work and Quality Assurance for the electronics manufacturer, she made many friends there.

Then came the scuba diving years. Tillie couldn’t swim well, but she would stay on shore and shuck oysters while the boys went diving. Tillie was always ready for a fish fry and a bottle of wine to go along. Also during this time Tillie and Ernie would go out dancing and kick up their heels on Saturday nights or play Bunco or pinochle with the Schmidt’s.

In 1978, Ernie and Tillie became business owners when they bought Parkrose Glass Co. Ernie would spend many days and nights working hard to succeed.

Tillie had been a tax preparer for H&R Block in the 70’s and so it was a natural transition for her to do the books. Occasionally the kids helped with answering phones, making deliveries or assisting Ernie with jobs.

In the late 1960’s Tillie and Ernie bought beach property in Washington. In 1980, the boys helped clear 100 trees to build a small home. For one solid year Tillie said they worked all week and went to the coast every weekend to work on the house. Ernie, Dennis and Kevin wired, plumbed and hammered their thumbs to complete the house. Many happy times, card games and campfires have been had by three generations at their beach house.

The eighties were prosperous for the Wolfs. Tillie retired in 1991 from OECO with 20+ years of service and worked with Ernie until he “Bagged it” in 1993.

Tillie and Ernie traveled extensively during the 90’s and 2000’s. They enjoyed traveling to all 50 states and Canada, Mexico and the Panama Canal.  Tillie made it to Europe a couple times and took all of the grandkids to Hawaii. Tillie was always planning the next trip or the next activity, she was always thinking ahead.

Early in the 2000’s, Tillie and Ernie would snowbird to Arizona for the rainy Oregon winters. They formed quite a group of friends in Yuma, but always managed to find their way back to beautiful Oregon and family for the summer season. In 2010, Tillie and Ernie joined their family on a generations cruise to Alaska. We celebrated Tillie and Ernie’s 60th wedding anniversary and Ernie’s 80th birthday.

Tillie has been very prolific over her 89 years. She was constantly sewing, crocheting, crafting, reading and playing word games. She spent thousands of hours making afgans, baby sets, blankets, needlepoint and clothing. Tillie was an excellent cook and baker and always kept sweets around for Ernie. Tillie had a great sense of humor and was always laughing, you could hear her laugh from the next room.

Tillie is survived by her husband, Ernie, sons Dennis (Judi) Wolf and Kevin (Vonnie) Wolf and daughter Karen (Bob) Casto, brother-in-law Harry Steckler of Arizona, and sister -in-laws Irene Seidler of Port Angeles and Rose Raben of Seattle. Tillie leaves behind 9 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.  Tillie was preceded in death by her son, Bruce, her siblings Frances (Manuel) Stegmiller of N. Dakota, Mary(Bill) Jarvi of Michigan, Rita Steckler of Arizona, half-brothers Don Schmidt of Portland, and Ed(Delores) Schmidt of Yuma, Arizona.

A celebration of Life will be held at 1pm Saturday January 11, 2020 at Fairlawn Community Center, 1280 NE Kane St., Gresham, OR. CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

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