Wilma Illich

Aug 30, 1933 – May 22, 2015

Wilma Illich obituary image 1



Wilma Illich

August 30, 1933 ~ May 22, 2015

Wilma was born in New Hradec, North Dakota, to Frank and Agnes Sadowsky.  Wilma lost her mother and twin brother Wilfred at a young age. She grew up on her father’s farm with her brother Frank and her four sisters, Marie, Peggy, Sally and Meg.   She died peacefully among family in Tacoma, Washington following a short illness.

Willie, as her family and friends knew her, was a wonderful mother of seven children, a loving spouse, a generous grandmother, a hard worker, and a world traveler.

Willie attended Model High School in Dickinson, North Dakota.  In 1952, Willie fell in love with Tony Illich, and the couple married in Dickinson.  They had three children before moving West to Wyoming and Montana.  Mountains and natural beauty called the family to the scenic wonderlands of Cody Wyoming, and Billings, Lewistown, Kalispell, and Bozeman Montana, where they enjoyed the outdoors, camping, hiking, fishing, and exploring.  Willie always enjoyed outings with friends, playing games (especially bridge), and holding social events.

As her children matured, Willie embraced the working world of travel consulting and bookkeeping, as she managed travel details for hundreds of clients at Big Horn Travel in Cody, and later at Flathead Travel in Kalispell. In Kalispell, she worked for Moose Miller and opened the doors to Glacier Travel, hired staff and built a new agency for travelers to and from the beautiful Flathead Valley. Willie herself traveled the world as she visited places across Canada, England, Ireland, Thailand, Germany, France and Switzerland.

Once the children all graduated high school and left home, Tony and Willie moved to Bozeman Montana where they lived contentedly nestled in the majestic Gallatin Valley at the northern entrance to Yellowstone Park. During her retirement, Willie especially enjoyed long day hikes with Tony in the surrounding mountains.  Having more time, Tony and Willie had the chance to travel abroad together, and explored from where their grandparents emigrated to the United States in the areas of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia.  These were to be the golden years.

Plans changed, however, on a fateful day in the Seattle area on a visit to their children in the year 2000.  Willie was seriously injured in a vehicle accident almost exactly fifteen years prior to the day she passed.  Willie was paralyzed from the waist down and was wheelchair bound for her remaining life.  Tony and Willie remained in Seattle that day and have lived since in Federal Way, Washington, among family in the Puget Sound Region.

Following the accident, Willie saw and enjoyed many wonderful events including the growth of her ten grandchildren.  She became an ardent supporter of the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks.  She also contributed and participated in the local Catholic parish of St. Theresa’s.

Willie’s greatest love was for her family, her husband, children, grandchildren, and extended family.  She could recite birth dates of all 60+ of her nieces and nephews.  She was a hub of communications for not only her immediate family but hundreds of friends and relatives all around the world. Her hand-writing was firm and unmistakable.  But she also embraced computer technology and loved using email as a means to send birthday and anniversary greetings and stay in touch with her loved ones. 

Wilma is survived by her husband Tony, two daughters, Cody (Kurt) and Susan, five sons, Dan, Russ (Caroline), Jim (Alyson), Fred (Joan), and John (Lisa), and ten grandchildren, Ben, Lexie, Matthew, Claire, Morgan, Hannah, Laura, Colter, Natalie and Sam.  She is also survived by her sister Meg.

She was preceded in death by her Mother Agnes, Father Frank, Sisters Martha, Marie, Peggy and Sally, brothers Wilfred and Frank, son-in-law Jason and daughter-in-law Loretta.

Funeral Mass is June 5, 1:30 PM, at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, 3939 SW 331st St, Federal Way, Washington  98003.  Prayer Service is June 4, 7:00 pm, at Bonney-Watson Funeral Home, 1535 SW Dash Point Road, Federal Way, WA  98023


Federal Way, wa
Jan 25, 2016

Dearest Illich Family - I was Willie and Tony's home health nurse. I became very fond of Willie as I had been seeing her for a number of years. She was always so kind, energetic and was someone I admired. I enjoyed our visits, our chats, her stories and her advice. Willie went through 2 pregnancies with me (I had our 4th baby this July)... Willie Being a proud mother of 7 often gave me advice, words of encouragement and always seemed to "understand". Willie spoke so highly of her children and grandchildren - I could feel the love she had for her family. So many sweet sweet stories I was fortunate to hear about her children and granchildren, and to see her light up with pure joy when she spoke about you all still puts a smile on my face. I feel blessed to have had her a part of my life & I think about her often. Sending my sincere condolences...

Sarah Love
Seattle, WA
Jun 3, 2015

My daughter Melanie always enjoyed going to visit Willie with Natalie. Our thoughts and prayers are with your families.

Ed Kleingartner
Bozeman, MT
Jun 3, 2015

Tony, it has been a long time since you and I played golf together. Too many miles between us.

So sorry to hear of Willie's passing. Condolences to you and your family. May God bless and comfort you all at this time of sorrow.

Ed (NWA)

Don & Sandy Kadrmas
Bismarck, ND
Jun 2, 2015

We send our prayers and Sympathy to your family. Always remember the remember the good times and the many memories of this special lady. We enjoyed our short time with both Tony & Willie in Dickinson. Verna Chorne also sends her sympathy she was a close friend to Wilma during High School. (Laudie passed away Oct of 2013) God Bless you.

Eva Jablonsky-Beltowski
Wrightwood, CA
Jun 1, 2015

Tony and family,

Willie and I were close as sisters and remained in that bond all of our lives. As a baby she had to live with my grandparents, Tony and Teresa Sadowsky. . She referred to him as "Stare TATA" She lived with them until she was old enough to join her siblings in boarding school in New Hradec. There she was my protector and if we were served food I could not stomach, she would eat it for me to keep me from getting into trouble. Her father, Uncle Frank, would warm bricks in the oven when it was his turn to take us to boarding school in the bitter winter. Willie inherited his jovial and compassionate demeanor. I remember her and Buddy being the best JitterBug dancers. She insisted in remaining in charge of their lives and being independant as much as possible. She was determined to care for Tony as his health deteriorated. Willie was indeed a remarkable woman, and I will miss her.

Mike "Road" McKay
Missoula, MT
Jun 1, 2015

Dear Illich family,

My most sincere condolences to each of you!! Willie was a Gem. She reminded me a lot of my mom who passed at age 69. Like Willie, she too was a hub of information and the glue that held our family gatherings together. This Thanksgiving will be 10 years since we lost her and although time may ease the pain, it hasn't robbed me of the all the great memories. I wish the same for all of you!!

Willie was a steady, happy, nurturing spirit that helped raise a really great family; one that she seemed genuinely amused by. Even through all the ABBA music. I feel very fortunate to have known Willie and she will be missed by many friends of her children, including me. God bless you all. Sincerely, Road

Judi Schmauch Gorton
Kalispell, MT
May 31, 2015

I worked with Wilma at Flathead Travel when I was a teenager. She taught me a lot about working with people. I have very fond memories of those days with her. My thoughts are with Tony and family

Beth Robinson
Kalispell, MT
May 31, 2015

I have fond memories of time spent at the Illich home in Northridge in Kalispell back in the '70s. Sending thoughts of peace and healing to the Illich family.

Jim Schneider
Maricopa, Az
May 30, 2015

Rose and e spent many hours with Tony & Willie during our moving around . She was a wonderful Sister-in-law and will be missed by all.,

She can now visit Rose and the rest of friends and family.

Joani Fosmo and Scott Kreycik
Denver, CO
May 29, 2015

Sending love and prayers to my Godfather, Uncle Tony and all my cousins. My mom has one of her best friends in Heaven with her.

John G Illich
Seattle, WA
May 29, 2015

Rest in peace Mom / Grandma. We miss you and love you immensely.

Love, John, Lisa, Natalie & Sam

This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.