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Lila is the biography of the author's mother. Born in a small town in Iowa and raised in early 20th century South Dakota, Lila lived a Cinderella childhood with a cruel stepmother. After attending Dakota Wesleyan University, she worked in a bank and then taught school until she met and married Royce Engberg. They had one child, a daughter, before Royce died.
Lila then became a missionary and taught in India for nine years. During that period, the school of which she had become the principal, was destroyed in an earthquake. She saw to its reconstruction before returning to the United States and building a new career for herself by working toward higher degrees which led to a career in higher education.
In time, she was married again to a professor at Syracuse University. She became a leader in Syracuse, heading up various community organizations. At the end of her life, she developed Alzheimer's Disease.