Jay Gatsby

Lydia Ratzlaff

- December 16, 2017

Scroll down the page for the Obituary, Funeral Details, and Condolence Messages.


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.

Funeral Details

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.

Condolence Messages

Jim and Shirley Ratzlaff

Written December 30, 2017 from Eugene, Oregon

We were alerted to your Mom's passing when we were researching the passing of another friend. So glad. I played the pump organ at your Mom and Dad's wedding! Our condolences to you and the family.
Jim Ratzlaff, youngest son of Ed and Mary Ratzlaff

Doug & Janet McMillan

Written December 28, 2017 from Saskatoon , SK.

Tom & Lorie
Janet & I would like you to know how sad we are in the loss of your Mother Tom.
We send out sincere condolences to you and your family.
Knowing that your Mother is at peace now.

David Forbes

Written December 26, 2017 from Saskatoon , SK

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Lydia’s family.
Lydia was a real inspiration for me in my work. She really believed in the world view that our province can and must a better place for all and it will be! I was so impressed at her 100th birthday both at her amazing life journey but also her incredible family that meant so much to her! Her kindness and her wonderful smile will be truly missed.

Take care.

David Forbes, MLA Saskatoon Centre

John & Carol Slimmon

Written December 22, 2017 from Saskatoon, SK

Tom, Janice & Family,
We were saddened to read of your Mom's/Grandmother's passing. She was quite the lady! Living to be a Centurian is a real accomplishment & I know you suggested she was sharp of mind. We hope her passing was peaceful.
Thinking of you during your time of sadness.
John & Carol