Lowville – Ilona Z. Schaefer, 97, formerly of Brookside Circle, Lowville, passed away Sunday morning, September 4, 2022 at Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility.
She is survived by her children and their spouses; William Schaefer, Sarasota, FL; Elaine and Allen Matuszczak and Amy and James Deavers, of Lowville; Gary and Debra Schaefer, Carla and Timothy O’Brien, Ronald and Daryl Schaefer all of Sarasota, FL; and a son-in-law Paul H. Lyndaker, Castorland; fourteen grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and cousins. She is predeceased by her beloved husband of 61 years, Donald E. Schaefer who died August 26, 2007; her eldest daughter Gail M. Lyndaker; her daughter-in-law Christine Weber Schaefer; and her older brother Lloyd D. Zehr.
Ilona was born on February 19, 1925 at home on the Second Road, Castorland, the daughter of the late David L. and Elvina Noftsier Zehr. She graduated in 1941 from Lowville Academy and then worked for a few years at Climax Manufacturing. On June 13, 1946, Ilona married Donald E. Schaefer at Lowville Mennonite Church with Rev. Lloyd Boshart officiating. Together they owned and operated a dairy farm on Route 26, Lowville, for 35 years, where they raised their family. Upon retiring in 1978, the couple moved to a home on 410, then to Hillcrest Circle in the spring of 1991. After Donald passed away, Ilona resided at Brookside Circle before entering Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility.
Ilona and Donald enjoyed wintering in Sarasota, Florida for over 30 years.
Ilona was a member of the First Mennonite Church of New Bremen. She was active in the Church Sewing Circle and many areas of church life. She enjoyed quilting, making a hand sown quilt for each of her 14 grandchildren, baking and gardening with her daughters and making food – especially baked beans - for the many barbeques her sons hosted over the years. She was always ready to make a batch of cookies, donuts or a pot of beans for any occasion or need. Ilona was a dedicated prayer warrior. She honored prayer requests, saying “You’re on my list.” Most of all she loved spending time with her family and friends.
There will be a Memorial/Celebration of Life Service on Friday, September 9, 2022 at 2:00PM at First Mennonite Church of New Bremen with Pastor Edward Steckly officiating. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. There are no calling hours.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to one of Ilona’s favorite organizations the FMC Sewing Circle, 8383 State Route 812, PO Box 417, Lowville, NY 13367 for their continued work in creating and donating comforters, school, health and hygiene kits to the needy of the world through Mennonite Central Committee; or Lewis County Healthcare Facility, Attn: Activities Dept., 7785 North State St., Lowville, NY 13367 for their continued effort to bring activities, stimulation and joy to the residents of the facility. Arrangements are with Iseneker Funeral Home, Inc.