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- December 16, 2017
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Lydia Ratzlaff born in Kronsweide, Russia amid the turmoil and persecution of the Russian Revolution. During the first seven years of her life, she and her family endured the fear and hardship of persecution, fleeing the threat of Bolshevism. In 1924, they received word that they would be allowed into Canada as refugees. They travelled to Poland by cart, then by train in a cattle car to a port on the Baltic Sea, by freighter to England, and from England to Canada by passenger ship, arriving in June to travel by train to Saskatchewan. After brief stays in Rosthern and the Carlton areas, they settled on a farm near Waldheim. In July, 1932 the entire family joined The Church of the New Jerusalem. Lydia remained an active member of her church her entire life. After Lydia’s school years, she worked for a time in Saskatoon as a housekeeper, and later in the cafeteria of the Bessborough Hotel. During the war she worked in the St. Catherines, Ontario area in a plant that manufactured parachutes, returning to the farm after her mother fell ill. On July 1, 1953 Lydia married Tom Ratzlaff. They and their two children, Ida and Tom, lived first in Waldheim. Tom’s career took the family to other communities including Langham and Aberdeen. Tom and Lydia retired to Waldheim in June, 1974, where Lydia remained until the mid-1980s to be near her grandchildren: Danielle, Shauna, and Kristen Ratzlaff. Lydia lived independently and happily for thirty years in her apartment building on Fifth Avenue North. For many years she was actively involved in several capacities with the tenants association, and participated in their social events until the last days. Lydia was a great homemaker, an avid gardener, and an accomplished seamstress. She loved to draw, paint, and make crafts, dance and socialize, play games like shuffleboard and whist, and spend time with family and friends, especially supporting her granddaughters. Lydia was predeceased by her parents Abram and Maria Ens, husband Tom, brother Cornelius Ens and his wife Irene, sister Hilda and her husband Arthur Abrams, sister Mary and her husband Bernard Healey, sister Helen and her husband Mike Sedor, and Don Epp, husband of her niece Lillian. Lydia is survived by her daughter Ida (Harvey) Lipka, son Tom (Lorie) Ratzlaff, and granddaughters Danielle, Shauna, and Kristen Ratzlaff. Also surviving are niece Lillian Epp, nephew Peter (Lynnda) Abrams, nieces Orpha (Reid) Smith and Rita (Larry) Sutherland, nephew Byron Healey, and many grandnieces, grandnephews, and their families.
A celebration of her life will be held on Thursday, December 28 at 1:00 PM. at Saskatoon Funeral Home, 338 4th Avenue North. In lieu of flowers, donations to Autism Treatment Services, Saskatoon, or to the Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation (JDRF) would be greatly appreciated.