Ida May was born to Myrtle and George Phoenix on May 17, 1950 in New Westminster, BC. Her parents were so excited about her birth that when they sent the telegram to family in eastern Canada, they forgot to include her name or that she was a girl! Four years later, twin brothers, George and Norman, were born. Like all siblings, they have some pretty funny stories about growing up together, but most of all, they loved each other and continued to be very close throughout her life.
In 1956, the Phoenix family moved to Quesnel and opened Cariboo Shoes. Ida May attended Quesnel Elementary (Helen Dixon) and graduated from Quesnel Secondary in 1967, one year early, as she had skipped grade 4.
After graduation, Ida May briefly attended UBC before transferring to Business School in the Lower Mainland. After Business School, she moved back to Quesnel, married and in 1970 gave birth to twin girls – Michelle (Gronskei) and Marissa (Knauf). Six years later, Ryan (Walker) was born.
While working, Ida May met many great friends at places such as Weirs Sawmill, Ernst, Weldwood, Rigsby Lee, and School District 28. She was well respected and enjoyed her time working at all of these places.
In 1984, Ida May met the love of her life, Stan Kohl and in 1987 they were married adding four more children to the family – Jennifer (Kohl), Tania (Kohl), Peter (Kohl), and Stephanie (Hogan). Ida May loved all of her children, and treated them like her own. As a testament to this, all of her children came to be with her during her final days, some traveling across the country to be with her.
More than anything, Ida May loved her grandchildren, Jordyn Gronskei, Cole Gronskei, Phoenix Knauf, Maya Knauf, Heather Nelson, Cash Walker, Levi Walker, Connor Hogan, and Carter Hogan and was extremely proud of all of their accomplishments. She cherished each of her grandchildren’s individual qualities and enjoyed hearing about all of the things they were up to.
Ida May was also an amazing artist – her quilts have won awards and are cherished by all of us and others. She enjoyed being a member of the Quesnel Quilters Guild and met many good friends while quilting. I know she was very thankful to be able to be with a group of gifted ladies who she could share her passion with and to be able to tap into the wisdom of the group.
Most of all, my mom was a wonderful human. She always looked for the good in everyone, she was loving and kind, and she was always there for us when we needed her. We are all so proud of who she was as a person and thankful for the sacrifices that she made for us. We are all better people because of her guidance and the example that she set for us. There are no words to express the loss of a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, or friend – we all love you, miss you, and will continue to honour you by remembering what you taught us – apologize when you make a mistake, don’t try to be perfect because perfection doesn’t exist, be your true self, and most of all, remember to be kind.
Love you, rest in peace, and we all hope to see you again one day…
In respect of Ida May’s wishes, no service will be held.