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SMITH, Ila Pearl (nee McLachlan)

July 10, 1926 – Magnetawan, Ontario
June 1, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta

Life Beautifully Lived

Ila Smith, aged ninety-two, passed away peacefully in her home on Saturday, June 1, 2019 surrounded by her family.

Ila was an elegant, beautiful woman inside and out. She brightened up all who knew her with charm and graciousness. Even in sickness she was poised, dignified and without complaint. Hers was truly a life beautifully lived.

Her family will remember Ila for the love and generosity she bestowed upon them.

Ila Pearl McLachlan was born in Magnetawan, Ontario on July 10, 1926, the middle daughter of five children of Guy and Julia Ann (nee Wurm) McLachlan. As a child she was fondly known as the “bookworm”. After the passing of her mother when Ila was only fourteen, she moved to Oshawa, Ontario to complete her education. There, two years later, she met Robert Fraser Smith. Following completion of his Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Toronto, they wed in 1948 and were married for sixty-eight years.

While Robert studied, Ila worked as a secretary for the Vice-President of General Motors. In 1958, they moved their family from Sarnia, Ontario to Calgary, Alberta.

Ila had an adventurous spirit and much courage. She enjoyed travelling the world and visited many exotic locales. She learned to pilot and navigate a small plane. She and Robert sailed, initially on the Great Lakes and then among the West Coast Islands. They shared many adventures and loved experiencing the beauty of Canada together.

Ila was an intellect; she inspired others through her quest for knowledge. Early on, she was a keen investor and became President of her investment club.

She was always creative, a marvelous cook, an accomplished seamstress and a great knitter. She even knitted a lovely pink mohair coat which, like her, was beautiful too. Gardening became a passion. She spent many hours among her flowers and her garden room at home was a place she treasured.

Ila’s flair for colour and beauty led her to take an interior design course through La Salle University. Her projects were so well done that soon the directors at La Salle called at the house and asked if she would join and teach for their program. She declined but was inspired to establish her own design companies – Ila Smith Interiors and Needles and Pins. She decorated many homes, specializing in window treatments and soft furnishings. As an entrepreneur in that era, we can appreciate that she was ahead of her time.

Ila derived much pleasure and joy from her family. She loved her children Li-Anne (Fred) Mannix, Mark (Brenda) Smith and seven grandchildren Margaret-Jean (Alex Adelaar), Frederick (Kelsea), Alexandra, Vanessa, Julian, Wyatt and Juliana. In addition, she was so proud of her six great-grandchildren Angus, Alistair, Aerin Jean, Brooklyn, Frederick Thomas and Jackson.

Ila was predeceased by her husband Robert on December 31, 2016.

Sincere thanks from the entire family to Shelley and her wonderful team of nurses at Aspen Care for their kindness and gentle care. Also, a special thank you and appreciation to Duane, Brian, Rachel and Cornelia for the love and care they shared with Ila.

Ila left us with many gifts. Our family will be guided by her spirit and creative vision. She leaves a legacy of grace, compassion and kindness. In her children and many of her grandchildren, she inspired a passion for investing. They will cherish the memories of gardening, cooking, baking and laughing together. Those around her were always made to feel so special and appreciated. Each of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren know how special they were to her.

Funeral services will be held at Grace Presbyterian Church (1009 – 15th Avenue SW) on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 2:00 pm. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, in lieu of flowers memorial tributes may be made directly to the Canadian Cancer Society, 200 – 325 Manning Rd. N.E., Calgary, AB T2E 2P5 Telephone: (403) 205-3966, email In living memory of Ila Smith, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. So sorry to hear of the passing of Ila. Such a beautiful woman, she always had such a great sense of fashion and I enjoyed my visits with Ila. She will be greatly missed. My prayers and thoughts are with the family.

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  2. Rob and Jenn Foster

    Deepest Condolences. Our thoughts are with you.

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  3. Clemente Zavaleta

    All my condolence Emilia and Clemente

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