Martha Silsbe

Martha Silsbe



1916 ~ 2018


Martha Eleanor Silsbe of Lethbridge, AB, beloved wife of the late Lawrence Edward Silsbe, passed away March 1, 2018 at the age of 101.5 years.

She was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, September 14, 1916, to Carrie (Schei) and Albert (AJ) Anderson. AJ came to Canada to the Bowville area in 1916 to help with harvest running a threshing machine, and then returned to Minnesota after harvest, bringing his family – Bella, Clarence, Margaret, Alvira, Alvin, Marvin, and Martha with him to the Bowville district the following spring, where they eventually started their own farm.  The family had planned on returning to Fergus Falls, burying Jalmer, the first born and Bella there, but instead remained at Carmangay.  Growing up, she helped her sisters on the cook cars that fed the farm workers, and learned cooking, canning, gardening, and playing piano.  Martha and Lawrence Silsbe were married October 18, 1939.  The first two children were born in Carmangay, AB and the rest were born in Lethbridge.  They started farming in 1942 in the Barons area, later moving to Picture Butte in 1969 but continuing to farm.  Martha had a large garden, with tomatoes, corn, potatoes etc, beautiful sweet peas, petunias and gladiolas, her favourite.  Her laundry was hung on Monday mornings, Tuesday was ironing day, and there was a day for shopping for supplies and groceries.  Mornings at the Silsbe household involved coffee cooked in a stainless-steel coffee pot on the stove, and her favourite radio host turned up loud enough to hear, while she went about her chores.  In the evenings she watched Jeopardy.  She belonged to the Royal Purple for many years, and after her children were grown she did “baby sitting” – overnight managing of the Piyami Lodge part time.  She and Lawrence loved to go for drives to visit and have coffee with their children whenever they could, still feeling their deep farm roots.  She moved to Lethbridge in 2009. 

Martha was predeceased by her husband Lawrence on March 25, 1997, their daughter Sharon Lee in 1957 in a tragic car accident, daughter-in-law Iris (Schnell) in August 22, 2000, their son-in-law Brian Wieland on March 16, 2014; her parents and all her brothers and sisters, and also their spouses.

She is survived by Russell, Judie (Gibb) Nathan; Lynn, Sharon (Warnock), Shannon Cej (Jeff), Ryan, Stacey Deering (Monty Gaur), Shaena Brouwer (Gil), Shalise, Shara Salter (Cory), Brienne Shimek (Paul); Larry, Gloria (Hawley), Shawn, Kayla; Brenda Wieland, Sherry, Melanie Winters (Kevin), Kimberly Wise (Steven); Barton, Brandon, Caitlin (Baier), Matthew; Great grandchildren: Baillie, Logan Cej; Aidan, Ava Deering; Evan, Roan Brouwer; Skylar, Daxton, Harper Salter; Greyson, Sawyer Shimek; Jada, Mason, Ashton Winters; Della Silsbe.

The crib board was never far away from the coffee pot and even the grandkids all loved to play with Grandma. She would ask “So what do you know?” And then snicker to herself.  Martha was well known for her roast beef, hot mustard, baked beans, and buns.  The cookie jar was always full for those that stopped for coffee.  The Norwegian treat lefse was one of her favourites, and all the children and even grandchildren make it for special occasions. Lefse was murmured several times over the last few days… 

Family and friends are invited to join the family for a time of fellowship and refreshments at 12:00pm on Monday, March 12, 2018 at the SOUTHMINSTER UNITED CHURCH, 1011 - 4 Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta.

A Private Family Graveside will be held at the Archmount Cemetery.

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