Hilda Hystad-Nix (née Clarke) was born in New Lisgard, Ontario, on Oct. 2, 1907. She married Joseph Hystad on Nov. 22, 1926, in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. Six children were born on the Bench: Leonard, Lois, Ken, Gordon, Gerald and Wayne. After they left Saskatchewan in 1945, Joseph, Hilda and the children settled in Abbotsford, B.C., where Elaine was born in 1949.
Hilda worked in a small bakery in Abbotsford. Her love of cooking took her to accept a job in a mill camp; the family moved to Clearwater, B.C., in 1955. For many years, Hilda ran the Camp 2 cookhouse, where she was known as “Gramma from Camp 2.”
Hilda cooked for as many as 100 men at one time, and when fire season arrived she made up to 70 lunches per day. She always seemed to remember the taste preferences of those for whom she cooked. In addition to Camp 2, over the years Hilda cooked in places such as Vavenby, Kamloops and remote bush camps.
Joseph Hystad died in 1973. A number of years passed before Hilda met and married Geoffrey Nix. They spent many happy years traveling and enjoying each others’ company, until Geoff passed away.
Several years later, Hilda returned to Gull Lake, Saskatchewan to visit family. It was there that she rekindled a friendship with a lifelong friend, Howard Benallack. Hilda decided to remain there, and enjoyed ten wonderful years helping Howard to run his ranch.
When Howard passed away, Hilda returned home to Clearwater, B.C. For several years she resided in her own home, cooking and baking for her family and friends. Her nicknames included “Bun Gramma” because of the wonderful buns she baked for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was also known as “Gramma Smartie” because she always kept a bowl of Smarties on her kitchen table for the children.
Hilda passed away peacefully on Jan. 29, 2008 at Forest View Place in Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital, Clearwater, B.C. Family and staff gathered by her side to provide comfort and support for this wonderful lady in her final days.
Hilda will be sadly missed by her children, Gordon (Daisy), Gerald (Lorraine), Wayne (Betsy), and Elaine (John), by her daughter-in-law Cecile, by her 16 grandchildren, 56 great grandchildren, 23 great-great grandchildren, and by many nieces, nephews and other family members.
She was predeceased by three of her children, Leonard in 1967, Lois in 1989 and Kennith in 1994, also by two grandsons, Troy and Mark and by one great-grandson, Nickolas.
A Memorial Service for Hilda Hystad-Nix will take place in the springtime, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at the Community Baptist Church, Clearwater, B.C. Lloyd Strickland, Minister, will officiate. Interment will follow at Riverview Cemetery, Clearwater, B.C.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to North Thompson Funeral Services, Clearwater and Barriere, BC, 250-674-3030 and 250-672-1999.