Lila May (Benedict) Renk died peacefully at home at the age of 94, on October 21, 2016 surrounded by her loving family.
Lila was born at home to Ralph and Cordie (Burton) Benedict on April 16, 1922. She grew up on the family farm near Rupert, Idaho, the second of three children. When she was just five, Lila’s older sister, June (with whom she was very close), died of pneumonia. This left her an only child until the birth of her sister, Priscilla Jane (PJ), in 1932.
As a young girl, Lila worked hard doing chores on the farm and helping to care for her little sister. She attended grade school at the old Pioneer School in Paul, Idaho, and graduated a year early from Rupert High School, in 1939. Eager to start her own life, Lila moved to Boise where she attended Boise Business University and landed a job as a bookkeeper at Montgomery Ward.
In May 1942, she met Richard Renk, who was managing the apartments where she lived. The two dated before Richard enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. They were married at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise on Richard’s birthday, April 1, 1943, while Richard was on leave. The two would remain together for the next 69 years until Richard’s death in 2012.
After the war, Lila and Richard started a family. Having experienced what it was like to often be alone as a child, Lila wanted lots of children. A truly remarkable woman, she gave birth to 14 children--nine boys and five girls--between 1946 and 1966. Considering each child a blessing, Lila and Richard raised their family on a small five-acre farm on Hill Road. With a commitment hard to comprehend today, it seemed our mother never slept; given all the meals, laundry, school lunches, sick kids, school projects, etc., that she spent time on. And though it served the primary purpose of feeding her large family, she found solace tending their large vegetable garden.
A devout Catholic, having converted to Richard’s faith around the time of their marriage, her faith sustained her throughout her adult life. Richard and Lila, supported and encouraged their children through 12 years of parochial schools---having at least one child enrolled at either St. Mary’s Grade School, or St. Theresa’s/Bishop Kelly High School for 32 consecutive years (from 1952 -1984). Mom was a loyal parishioner of St. Mary’s Church, in Boise, for over 67 years, and spent many hours praying for others.
An extraordinary woman, our mother was compassionate, sensitive, and had incredible insight into the needs of others, especially children----her life’s work. She was very involved with the ARC (formerly the Association for Retarded Citizens). We were blessed by her sense of humor, her guidance, and positive attitude, which carried through to her final days.
Lila was preceded in death by her parents, sisters (June Benedict and Priscilla Henson), her husband Richard, and her special daughter, Julie. She is survived by sons Tom (Nancy) of Sandpoint, ID; Russell (Karen) of Sequim, WA; Dan, Ted (Dani), Ben (Jeffrey), and Tim (Janet) all of Boise, ID; Nick (Janice) of Dallas, OR; Ed (Fran) of Ontario, OR; Rex (Angela) of Helena, MT; daughters Marie Vetsch (Frank), Alyssa Carter (Kelly) both of Boise, ID; Roselle Caesar of Sandpoint, ID; Luci Li (Jarrod) of Shanghai, China. She is also survived by 29 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
There will be a rosary/vigil at Alden-Waggoner Funeral Chapel on Tuesday, October 25th at 6:00 p.m. The funeral will be held at St. Mary’s Church Wednesday, October 26th at 11:00 a.m. with interment at Dry Creek Cemetery, reception following. Donations may be made in her name to St. Mary’s food bank.
1922 ~ 2016