Olga Tillema

WESTFIELD – Olga (Synder) Tillema died quietly at the Governor’s Center on March 4, 2013. She was born in Westfield on August 9, 1908 and was married to the late Gordon Tillema.
After graduating from Westfield State Teachers College, she taught first to fourth grades for ten years in East Granby, CT, and for four years served as the school’s principal. After the birth of her son, Richard, she substituted occasionally in the Westfield school system. As president of the Franklin Street PTA, she worked tirelessly until a new school was built there. Olga volunteered thousands of hours to various membership and charitable organizations including Noble Hospital, Massachusetts Retired Teachers Association, First Congregational Church, and the American Red Cross. Her activities included serving as treasurer for the Board of the Westfield Chapter of the American Red Cross, teaching English to Hispanic immigrants in their homes, visiting patients in mental hospitals, delivering fresh water in times of natural disaster, and knitting socks and shawls for the elderly in nursing homes and layettes for infants. At age 82, she received the Westfield Red Cross Chapter’s first Volunteer of the Year Award.
Surviving family members include her son, Richard; his children, Juliana (Chad Lauber) and Erik (Amy Hackenberg), and their children, Anja Lauber and Nikolas Tillema.
A private memorial service for family members will be held later this spring.
In lieu of flowers to which family members are allergic, please consider making a donation to either the Westfield Chapter of the American Red Cross, 60 Broad Street, Westfield, MA 01085 or the First Congregational Church, 18 Broad Street, Westfield, MA 01085.
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