Hilda (Hildegard) Edith Silversides (nee Engel)
Born in December 1940 at Grandma’s, near Kelstern, Sask.
Married August 1963.
Died September 2023 during a COVID outbreak.
Hilda left behind her husband Bill, son Wilfrid, daughter Susie, three granddaughters, four brothers and their spouses, ten nieces and nephews and sixteen grand nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her parents Jacob and Olga Engel.
Hilda spoke only German till age 6. Her elementary education was in the Bigford one room school. She completed high school by correspondence, and earned a scholarship that took her to Teacher’s College in Regina. Hilda went on to complete an Honours Degree in English Literature at UBC after studying at the University of Saskatoon and the University of Lethbridge. This included many correspondences, summer school and intersession classes. She almost completed a Masters while being a mom and teaching full- time, in Sparwood. She stopped a class and an essay short of that Masters when she found she could not tolerate the era of Jonathan Swift at all.
Hilda started her teaching career in a one room school North of Yorkton and moved up to a two-room school, North of Swift Current. The rooms became more plentiful after that. She taught in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Her core instructions were English and Social studies, but she also tackled Geography, Home Economics, Computers (her daughter laughs at this), English as a second Language, and individualized Special Education.
Hilda taught classes to sing 4-part harmony folk songs in the 60’s for Christmas concerts. One of her more ambitious set of lessons involved running a mini political election with her elementary school class. This included a two-party system and election day with all the officials required to run the voting. Even more fun was role playing to learn First Nations matrilineal society relationships. She made special connections with her Cambodian students and with her Special Ed students. She understood struggle, pain and needing to go outside the box.
She was a voracious reader. She has left behind two houses full of well-studied books, on a wide variety of topics. There are also incomplete poems, fabric projects, hats, musical instruments, and shoes.
Hilda also loved roaming the beautiful Rocky Mountain countryside, with her husband Bill. They spent hours on back roads in their Datsun 510. They searched for waterfalls, views, historical sites, and a short cut to the Flathead valley (before the mega roads of today).
Hilda built a garden on gravel, rocks and clay that had/has over 100 rose varieties, 1000 daffodil blooms, dozens of other flower families, cherries, plums, apples, apricots, grapes, small fruits including sea-buckthorn, huge shade trees and a lovely larch. Building a garden was her joy. In winter, she planned and plotted. In summer, she watered and dug (with pick and crowbar) slowly.
Hilda loved bright colours and vibrant new ideas. She was a colourful character to the end. She had lived a life-long struggle with mental illness that sometimes hid her inner amazingness. No matter what, she loved her family deeply and always let them know. In her last years, dementia took many of her faculties, but we believe it gave her the gift of freedom from anxiety and depression in the last year of her life. Although she lost much of her speech in the last two years, she was able to express love, kindness, and a sense of humour to all who worked with her.
Many thanks to the kind staff at Rocky Mountain Village who cared for her.
A future memorial service will be planned for Hilda. Date tba.
Donations can be made to Christ Church Fernie at https://www.christchurchfernie.ca/ or Box 279 Fernie V0B 1M0
Or plant a flower for yourself in her memory.
Christ Church Anglican
591 4th Ave, Fernie BC V0B 1M0