Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

Sister of Smoky Schultze dies

FRESNO, CA — Services for Lola Willats, 87, will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Peace Lutheran Church in Fresno, CA. Lola will be interred next to her husband of 64 years, John, at Avenue of the Flags at Victorville Valley Memorial Park in Victorville, CA.
Lola died Monday, Sept. 18, 2017.
She was born in Osmond May 1, 1930, to Ferdinand and Bessie Schultze. One of 12 brothers and sisters, she was the youngest of the seven sisters. Lola grew up in Nebraska and graduated from Osmond High School in 1947. While in high school, she worked as an usher at Osmond Theatre. After she graduated from high school, she moved to Omaha where she attended beauty school. In June of 1949, she married John Willats. They settled near their families in Plainview. All three of their children were born there. In 1956, John and Lola moved their family to California. John found work with a government contractor, and Lola found work as a high school cafeteria manager. It was during that time that she learned to bake her famous cinnamon rolls. After retirement, John and Lola built their dream home in the high desert of southern California. They both became involved in volunteer work and enjoyed traveling. Her favorite destination, however, was always visiting her Nebraska relatives and her children and grandchildren, for whom she loved to prepare Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. They moved to Fresno during the early 1990s, to be near their daughter, Cheryl, and her children, and their son, Ned. Lola was a confirmed member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and was active in local congregations her entire life. Early on, she sang in the choir, helped prepare congregational meals and belonged to the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML). Lola will be best remembered by her family and friends as having been a loving and kind woman who deeply loved God, her family and her friends, and who made the best cinnamon rolls ever! Without a doubt, Lola was proudest of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She always enjoyed a friendly, yet competitive, game of cribbage.
Lola is survived by her three children and spouses, Steven and Joann Willats of New Jersey and Ned Willats and Cheryl and Brent Coddington of Fresno; two brothers, Marlin “Smoky” and Joan Schultze of Osmond and Carrol Schultze of Hemet, CA; seven grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John; parents Ferdinand and Bessie Schultze; stepfather Art Johnson; brothers Fred Schultze, Kenneth Schulze and Arnim “Red” Schultze and sisters Irma Schmid, Irene Kear, Iona Van Tassel, Hilda Christiansen, Wanda Schultze and Sylvia Armstrong.

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