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WILLMS, Katherine "Kate"

WILLMS, Katherine

Katherine “Kate” Willms

October 18, 1920- January 17, 2018

Katie was born on her Grandfather’s estate near Kena in the Northeastern Caucasus on October 18th 1920, to Abram and Helen Rempel. Because of the turbulent and dangerous times of the Russian Revolution, she and her family immigrated to Canada in 1929.

In Canada, the Rempel family eventually settled in the Fraser Valley. Katie attended school until grade 6 but she had to leave school to work to help support her family. She worked as a domestic worker in Matsqui and then later Vancouver. She met her loving husband Jacob Willms at a family wedding and they married in 1939. They settled in Abbotsford where they raised eight children, first on Womsley Road and later Columbia Road. She was well known for her cooking, baking, sewing and warm hospitality.

In 1974 Katie and Jake moved to Cawston with their two youngest children where they enjoyed many years living on a five-acre apple orchard in the Similkameen Valley. Their children, grandchildren and other friends and relatives have many fond memories of the white house in the orchard, enjoying the wonderful hospitality Katie and Jake provided.

In their retirement years (though they managed the apple orchard until 1990), Katie and Jake travelled to Europe as well as Egypt. In 2007 Katie travelled to Tanzania, with her granddaughter Antonia to visit her daughter Linda. Katie loved reading and listening to the CBC. She also provided a warm shelter for anyone passing by her home. Relatives, friends and friends of friends all felt welcome in Katie’s home, the smell of fresh baked buns and peach and apple pies wafting through the rooms. In 1991 Katie and Jake moved from Cawston to their home on Lake Avenue in Kelowna. After Jake passed away in 2006, Katie continued to live on Lake Avenue for a few years, then in a condominium and finally for the past four years at Northwood Retirement Resort. On Wednesday, January 17th, 2018, Katie passed away peacefully in her sleep.

Katie is predeceased by her daughter Marlene, her daughter-in-law, Marcia, her husband Jake, her brothers, Dietrich and Ernie and her sisters, Irma and Annie. She is mourned by her children: Ellie (Wayne), Karl (Eileen), Paul (Joan), Jack (Marty), Linda, Jane (Mark) and Jim (Ryoko). She will also be greatly missed by her sixteen grandchildren and twenty-one great grandchildren as well as by the many friends she made in the communities she touched with her presence.

A Memorial Service for Katie will be held at First Mennonite Church, on January 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.firstmemorialfuneralkelowna.com Arrangements entrusted with First Memorial Funeral Services, Kelowna. 250-762-2299

Condolence Messages
  • Jan 25, 2018
    I am so sorry to hear of your mother's passing Ellie. It was a privilege to know her at Northwood. She brought life to the knitting group on Tuesday mornings. She was an inspiration to all of us.
    Alice Lundy
  • Jan 23, 2018
    So sorry to hear of Katie's passing. I was blessed to be her hairdresser and friend for many years. Condolences to the family. My thoughts are with the family at this time.
    Love, Karen L
  • Jan 22, 2018
    Thinking of you all with fondness,
    as you gather to remember this beautiful
    lady. Wish I could be there. We are blessed
    to have known her.
    With love,
    Ken and Judy