Lavilla Schmalz, 94

Lavilla Emma Ida (Schoenke) Schmalz, age 94, of Lester Prairie, passed away Monday, May 25, 2020, at GlenFields Living with Care in Glencoe.

A private, family graveside service will take place at St. Peter Lutheran Church Cemetery in Lester Prairie with Pastor Joshua Arndt officiating. The special music will be: Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Jesus Loves Me, Praise To The Lord, The Almighty, and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.

Casket Bearers will be her grandchildren: Garrett Engelhardt, Kaylan Engelhardt, Melanie Eckstein, Phillip Schmalz, Megan Wiyninger, Jeremy Williams, Krista Mehrl, Brandon Jilek, and Anika Jilek.

Lavilla was born at home Dec. 21, 1925, in Camden Township. She was the daughter of Herbert and Mathilda (Pawelk) Schoenke. Lavilla was baptized Jan. 17, 1926, and was later confirmed in her faith April 2, 1939, both officiated by Rev. Theo Rolf at St. Mark Lutheran Church in New Germany.

Lavilla attended St. Mark Lutheran School through 8th grade and went on to Central High School in Norwood-Young America. She attended her last year of school at St. Louis Park High School and graduated in 1943. Prior to her marriage, she worked at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in downtown Minneapolis.

June 14, 1947, Lavilla was united in marriage to Reuben Schmalz by Rev. John W. Meyer at St. Mark Lutheran Church in New Germany. Lavilla and Reuben made their home on the family farm in Lester Prairie. Their marriage was blessed with six children; Jacalyn, Jerry, Nathan, Beverly, Mary Jo, and Lisa. They shared more than 57 years of marriage together until Reuben passed away Feb. 8, 2005. Lavilla continued to live on the family farm through 2018.

Lavilla was an active member of St. Peter Lutheran Church. As her ministry to the church, she graciously served as a long-time member of the Ladies Aid, serving as president, vice president, and as a delegate at the conventions. Lavilla taught Sunday school. She served as branch secretary for the Aid Association for Lutherans for decades. Lavilla was also a member of the University of Minnesota Home Extension and served as Home Counselor of Winsted Township in 1967.

Lavilla did most of the landscaping at two homesites on the farm, which showed her great love for flowers and gardening. She also loved music, sewing, and providing many meals for her family, especially baking apple pies and rolls. Lavilla and Reuben enjoyed traveling in the states and took many trips abroad, including various destinations throughout Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean. Lavilla had a unique sense of humor and treasured the time spent with family and friends.

Lavilla is survived by her children: Jackie Engelhardt and husband, Bill, of Plymouth, Nathan Schmalz and wife, Jackie, of Lester Prairie, Bev Gilligan and husband, Gene, of Anoka, Mary Jo Mehrl of Woodbury, Lisa Jilek and husband, Jerry, of Minnetrista; grandchildren: Garrett Engelhardt (Cortney), Kaylan Engelhardt, Melanie Eckstein (Josh), Phillip Schmalz (Christine), Megan Wiyninger (Brad), Jeremy Williams, Krista Mehrl, Brandon and Anika Jilek; great-grandchildren: Emma and Maya Eckstein, Hayley, Greta, and Paige Schmalz, Cole, Ava, and Max Wiyninger. Lavilla is also survived by her brother, Franklin Schoenke of New Germany, and many nephews, nieces, and other relatives.

Lavilla was preceded in death by her husband, Reuben Schmalz; son, Jerry Schmalz; son-in-law, Rev. Klaus Mehrl; parents, Herbert and Mathilda Schoenke; sisters, Janet Schuette Stender (Willmar Schuette and Ralph Stender) Mary Krekelberg (Leroy); sister-in-law, Lila Schoenke; Reuben’s parents, William and Emma Schmalz; Reuben’s siblings, Andrew, Alfred, RoseZena and their spouses; and many nephews and nieces.

Arrangements by the Paul-McBride Funeral Chapel in Lester Prairie. Online obituaries and guest book available at www.mcbridechapel.com.

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