Obituary-Ila Linder

August 20, 1936-February 17, 2024

A proud product of the prairie, Ila Marie Proffitt was born on Augusts 20, 1936 in Sterling, Kansas. The only daughter of J.M. & Lutie (Towse) Proffitt, Ila joined big brothers Wayne and Billy. Eventually baby brother, Gary, joined the scene. Endless memories were soon made by the Proffitt four, first, out in the sandhills by Alden, then south of Sterling in pastures near the Arkansas River. Ila was proud to be the daughter and sister of farmers and she herself was active in 4H and completing before and after school farm chores. Ila graduated form Sterling High School in 1955, where she participated in band, FHA, 4H & Y-Teens. After high school, Ila attended Grace School of Nursing in Hutchinson, Kansas and graduated as a proud Registered Nurse. It was her nursing school classmate, Irene, who would introduce her to a young Army man, Rex Linder. Rex and Ila were married at Sterling United Methodist Church on September 29, 1958. The army would take Rex & Ila and their four children, Cathy, Roger, Mike, and Nancy to Kansas, Germany, Georgia and Washington, moving a total of 19 times. With four kids in tow, there was no doubt where Ila would go during Rex’s two tours in Vietnam: home to Sterling. After Rex’s retirement from the U.S. Army, the family settled in Clay Center, Kansas.

After the kids were done with high school, Ila began working at the Clay County Health Department until she retired as the Director In 1997. With the retirement chapter ahead of them, Ila and Rex knew where they should go: home to Sterling. Rex and Ila quickly settled in just south of town and enjoyed time gardening, spoiling their grandchildren, and spending time in their community. Never one to be fully still, Ila spent hours with her aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and of course- her brothers. Additionally, she worked a few hours a week at the Rice County Health Department in Lyons. After Rex’s passing in 2012, Ila moved into town and enjoyed traveling, lunching with friends, but most importantly, her family. She was proud to have raised a respiratory therapist, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, a pharmacist, and a teacher. She was incredibly proud of their grandchildren and their accomplishments in their personal and professional lives. She was especially keen on the addition of Megs, Hanna, Jaime, Eric, and Olivia. But, in all honesty, no one else could compare with Arya, Ryker, & Tommy- the great grands. Ila Proffitt Linder was meticulous. She was marvelous. She was our matriarch. She will always be missed.

Ila was proceeded in death by her husband Rex, her brothers- Wayne (Ruth), Billy (Joann), and Gary (Joanna) Proffitt, her parents, J.M. & Lutie Proffitt, and her Linder brothers and sisters-in -law.

She is survived by her four children, Cathy Lutz, Roger (Connie) Linder, Mike, and Nancy (Tom) Rundel, Her nine grandchildren, Maj. Jerad (Jaime) Linder, Dustin (Maeghan) Linder, Case Rundel, Emily Lutz, Will Lutz (Olivia Marks), Colton (Hanna) Rundel, Sam Linder, Elly Lutz (Eric Gordon), and John Linder. And three great grandchildren, Arya and Ryker Linder and Tommy Rundel. Other surviving family include brother-in-law, Gene Stout, sisters-in-law Donna and Paula Proffitt, and a host of Proffitt and Linder nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be at 10:00 A.M., Saturday, February 24, 2024, at the First United Methodist Church, Sterling, with Pastor Amy Foster officiating. Burial will follow at the Sterling Community Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2:00 until 7:00 P.M., Friday, February 23, 2024, at Birzer Funeral Home, Sterling, with family present from 5:00 until 7:00 P.M. Memorials may be given to the First United Methodist Church or Sterling Main Street in care of Birzer Funeral Home, Sterling.

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