Life Story Service
Life Story Reception
Saturday, April 29, 2023
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories can be shared.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
St. Jude Children's Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
American Red Cross
PO Box 37839
Boone, IA 50037-0839
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Ila Hall lived a very active life well into her later years. Blessed with an abundant and loving family, she relished her role as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Generous beyond measure, there simply wasn’t anything that she wouldn’t do for her family or a stranger in need. Ila leaves behind a rich collection of memories for her special friends and loved ones to cherish forever.
Looking back on the 1920s, it was a period when the media focused on jazz music and celebrities. The tunes of Louis Armstrong and Gene Austin filled the radios while Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson entertained us on the silver screen. While Babe Ruth was slugging baseball’s, Coco Chanel was quickly becoming a fashion superstar! Closer to home, Ross and Zola (Kellogg) Morrison had much to celebrate themselves as they welcomed their newborn baby girl, Illa May, on March 23, 1926, in Portage, Michigan. Ila brought great joy and many blessings to the family home.
Growing up, Ila was surrounded by people who loved her. After moving from Portage to a home in Comstock Township, they had a cow, chickens, and a garden. Her mom insisted soap was important and Ila said there is “no reason to be dirty as well,” and always washed up after working outside. As dirty as she became, she could equally clean up! Her father was a hard worker at the local foundry and bought a family farm in Delton. Ila grew to understand a hard day’s work by carrying five-gallon buckets of milk by hand on the farm. This instilled in her the values of a strong work ethic and contributed to her toned arms as a young woman. Times were tough during her growing years as a result of the Great Depression. Sugar was being rationed yet it didn’t stop Ila and her siblings from making fudge. When her parents were away for a few hours, they used up all of the sugar! There was never a dull moment in the Morrison household!
Not long after graduating with the Class of 1944 from Kalamazoo Central High School, a friend introduced her to John D. Todd. Smitten from the start, a romance quickly blossomed. The couple married on September 15, 1944, and made their way to Los Angeles, California, where John was a photographer for the L.A. Tribune. They later moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where they welcomed home their first child, Judy. When their second daughter, Kathaleen, arrived they had already moved back to the Kalamazoo area to be closer to family. Ila juggled her role as a mother with her career at First National Bank, now PNC. She was in charge of the accounting department before becoming Assistant Vice President. She later retired after a remarkable thirty-five years.
As a mother, Ila wanted nothing but the very best for her children and insisted they were well dressed. Once, while Judy was just ten years old and received a new bike from her dad, Ila summoned her back home just to add a scarf to accessorize her red v-neck sweater! Ila made sure her girls always looked their best. Every other summer beginning in 1958 the family traveled back to Salt Lake City. Normally they drove on old Route 66 but varied their routes over the years. Highlights of these trips were visiting The Dakotas, especially spending time at Mt. Rushmore. They were in awe and captivated by viewing the granite masterpiece. The family continued to Seattle to visit Dr. Robert Todd and his family. Finally, they made their way to Disneyland and the Los Angeles area to visit Ila’s best friend. On the opposite years of these extended trips, they stayed closer to home visiting destinations such as Chicago, Mackinac Island, and Niagara Falls. Any time they were together, they always made lasting memories.
As much as she loved her role as a mother, she cherished her years as a grandmother. When her first grandchild, Sonja, was born, Ila stayed for a few days. Everyone wondered how Ila got the baby to sleep through the night, and later found that she would lay the baby on her tummy, providing the perfect comfort for Sonja to fall asleep. When her granddaughters, Renee and Sonja, drove to Florida to visit her, they were greeted by their grandmother wearing a bikini and high heels! Ila was known for her fashion and flare as well as her sass and spunk. Sonja even wrote about her vibrant personality for a school assignment! Ila treasured getting to know each of her grandchildren. Every single grandchild and great-grandchild always showed love and respect for her in return. The Kirkbride brothers: Corey, Connor, and Casey, lived near her and helped her at home, drove her places, and performed chores for her. Her first great-grandchild, Amanda Shull, also grew to love the special Christmas date nut bread Ila made for family and friends near and far. They loved spending time with her and Ila’s heart was full any time they visited.
She and John lived a beautiful life together. His company, Todd’s Photography, sponsored their bowling team at Airway Lanes for years. Ila loved bowling and played on a women’s softball team until she broke her finger. Active in her community, she belonged to ZONTA International, a women’s organization, and became Vice President. She was also a member of the Kalamazoo County Women’s Republican, serving as President. As empty nesters, she and John enjoyed going to Las Vegas with their best friends, Max and Margaret. After John passed in 1981, Ila married Percy Hall in 1986. Just eight years later, he passed as well. Fortunately, Ila had Lionel, her good friend and travel companion. Together they traveled to many places throughout Europe including two trips on the luxury cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2. Her family always compared her to Queen Elizabeth as she was the queen of their family. Each Mother’s Day, Judy bought her a sparkling tiara to wear on her special day!
Deeply loved, Ila was a wonderful person to know and to love. She was the matriarch of her family and there is no doubt that her special presence will be missed each and every time her family is gathered together. May they feel her warm presence among them and share in great joy and laughter reflecting fondly on the good times she shared with each and every one of them.
Ila May Todd Hall of Kalamazoo, MI, passed away on January 2, 2023. Ila was proceeded in death by her parents; her daughter, Kathy Todd; her siblings: Joe, Carl, Julie, Elizabeth, Pearl, William, Robert, Paul, and Betty. Ila leaves behind her daughter, Judy Todd Wood; 3 grandchildren: Sonja, Renee (Warnock) Rowlson (Brian), and David; 5 great-grandchildren: Amanda, Corey, Connor, Casey, and Aiden; brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Todd; and numerous nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. A Life Story Celebration where food, drinks, and stories can be shared will be held Saturday, April 29, 2023, from 4-6 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Visit Ila's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and to sign her guestbook. Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or the American Red Cross.