Lydia A. McDermott
My beloved mother, Lydia A. McDermott, passed away in the early morning hours on Aug. 29, 2021, at Avantara Billings, due to Covid-19. She was 86 years old.
Lydia was born in Jamieson, Alberta, and was raised on the family farm in Cranford with her two sisters. Her older sister rode to school on a horse, and of course, missed going most of the winter. She attended a one-room, one-teacher schoolhouse for eight grades. Lydia graduated from Taber (Alberta) High School in 1953. In 1954, she attended Garbutt Business College and earned a certificate in Secretarial-Clerical duties. She worked as secretary to the Principal of Hamilton Junior High School for two years before she left to be married.
She married Robert McDermott and moved to Montana, which was his home. She became a stay-at-home mom while Robert was employed as a shift worker at the Exxon refinery. They raised three children together. Lydia was an excellent cook and made holidays even more special and festive for her family with her cooking and home decorating. She also had a green thumb and could grow anything from almost nothing.
At the age of 46, Lydia entered Eastern Montana College in Billings as a first-time freshman. She studied art, English and French. She went part-time for several years until she was a senior but developed a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis and had to discontinue her studies. Art was an essential and active part of her life right up to her final days. She was very talented and creative, working wonders with the simplest of supplies. She also loved the written word and would write letters all the time. Our mailboxes will never again be blessed with her letters.
In 1995, Lydia and Robert divorced. She did a lot of biography writing on her computer, which her son Patrick would fix over the phone when she pushed a wrong button. Patrick was her connection to the world, as he had access to the internet. They were there for each other and helped each other out in life.
Lydia served as a cashier at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store part-time for a couple of years, which got her out of the house and amongst people, and she loved it. She was an avid garage sale enthusiast and we all loved hearing about the “genuines” that she would find. She had a wonderful way with words.
Lydia was preceded in death by her sons, Patrick and Edward; her parents, Josef and Mary; and her sister Frances Simek. She is survived by her daughter, Joanne (Barry) Fritchman and grandson Brian Fritchman, of Lake Forest, California; and granddaughter Katie (Travis) Christianson of Chico, California. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Ginger McDermott and grandchildren Michelle (Steven and their son Zac, Lydia’s great-grandson) Murtha, Jailyn McDermott, Jeremiah McDermott, Anthony McDermott, and Max McDermott, all of Billings. Lydia was loved and adored by her grandchildren, and they brought her immense joy and pride. She will be lovingly remembered by her sister Jeri Albro of Cheney, Washington, and her family; and the family of her sister Frances Simek of Taber, Alberta, and all the relatives in Canada.
In accordance with Lydia’s wishes, there will be no memorial service at this time due to the pandemic. Graveside services at Holy Cross Cemetery will be held 1:30pm Thursday, September 9, 2021. Lydia had requested that memorials go to the Billings Mental Health Center (www.mhcbillings.org).
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lydia A. McDermott, please visit our floral store.