Evelyn was born on September 9, 1930, in a country home near Joplin, Missouri. She was 6 months old when her family moved to Yuma, COLO. They tell her she rode in a cracker box and since she was only six months, she can’t dispute then but it must have been larger than the cracker boxes we know of today. As a child she attended the Center Hyde School, and when her parents later moved, to West Point School. Both schools have since been torn down. The last year of grade school, Evelyn attended the West Yuma School. She graduated from Yuma High School in 1949 and went to Colorado University for two years. She decided interior decorating wasn’t for her and she returned to Yuma.
Her brothers Chet and Robert had been raising broilers in the wintertime to supplement their income and when they stopped that project, she decided to give it a try. Evelyn raised broilers for three years, usually putting in 2,000 at a time. As the industry got mor competitive and less profitable, she gave up on that project.
In 1954, Evelyn signed up to that the Evadena Hammersley KOA Food Tour to Europe. The group flew from Denver to New York and then to Shannon, Ireland. Evelyn’s memory of the tour is getting vague, but she remembers crossing by boat from Ireland to England, and from there it was by bus. Some of the countries she traveled were Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France. She was bona month. She brough everyone home a gift. Her family thought she would spend hours telling them about the trip, but in the end, they decided they would have to make the trip themselves if they expected to learn anything. Maybe her three older brothers overwhelmed her, but she was a quiet one for sure. Chet, Orton and Robert could throw 100-pound turkey feed sacks at one another playing catch and they had fun doing it. Today, a 10-pound sugar sack would probably be too much for an arthritic figure.
In 1960, while Evelyn was in Missouri with her parents visiting relatives, the job opening for a librarian at the Yuma Library appeared in the Yuma Pioneer. Evelyn was always had her head in a book and so her sister-in-law applied for the job for Evelyn. Bonnie thought Evelyn would be ideal for the job. When she returned to Yuma, from Missouri, she found she had a new job. Evelyn wore out the old library and the town built a new library. It’s not quite that way but it makes a good story. Evelyn spent a quarter at Denver University taking Basic Library Science – cataloging and reference work.
One year Ralph and Sharon Spellman wanted to honor her at a Chamber Commerce dinner, but they couldn’t figure out how to get her to the dinner, so they called upon her sister-in-law, Bonnie, to devise a plan. She was there. Ralph was the mayor of Yuma at that time and his wife Sharon spoke with great admiration about Evelyn’s talents as a librarian.
Her father, of whom she had fond memories, passed away on Aug. 14, 1978 and Evelyn has continued to live on the farm with her mother. She has enjoyed working at the Library and the brothers have found it hard to pry her away long enough to attend a wedding in the family. When she retires from the library, she has five nieces and five nephews she can get better acquainted with. She also has 13 great nephews and two great nieces, so she could be busy indeed, but I imagine that you will find Evelyn some place with a book in her lap.
Written by Evelyn’s sister-in-law, Bonnie Saxton for the Yuma County – The Hundred-Year Review
Evelyn worked at the Yuma Library from 1960 to 1989. She continued to live on the farm, west of Yuma, for several years with her mother until they eventually moved to town. Evelyn resided there until she decided that she needed daily help and wanted to move to assisted living. Evelyn lived at the Hillcrest Care Center from October 2017 until she passed away on October 2, 2020.
Evelyn was an intelligent, reserved woman. She told us many times that her privacy and independence were very important to her, and she proudly remained independent late into her life.
Evelyn was an avid reader and she had quite a collection of books. She also liked to knit, crochet, and garden. These daily enjoyments were often accompanied by a cup of hot tea in the afternoon. She was “eating clean” and recycling long before it became popular. We often caught her in the middle of baking her own bread, using her own yeast starter, and she enjoyed this favorite pastime up until she moved to Hillcrest. She spent many afternoons with her brother, Chet, as they watched cooking shows. If she wasn’t watching cooking shows, she enjoyed watching political programs and old westerns. Evelyn enjoyed putting together puzzles although she never thought she was “good at it”. She actually was quite good at it and even got Craig to lend a helping hand on occasion. She loved dogs and thoroughly enjoyed visits from her nephew’s dog, Charlee. Evelyn would catch a case of the giggles as an excited Charlee, who enjoyed Evelyn as much as Evelyn enjoyed her, licked her face until finally settling down on her lap.
Evelyn was a very kind and caring woman. She will be missed………
Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents Chester E. and Gladys Saxton, brothers Chet and wife Bonnie, Orton and wife Donna, Robert and wife Maralyn, nephews Mark Saxton and Robert Saxton and niece Rena Wood. She is survived by a host of nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces and great-great nephews and nieces.
There was a graveside service on Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Yuma Cemetery in Yuma, Colorado. Baucke Funeral Home directed the service.
A Prayer for Librarians
Lord, keep a watchful eye over these books that they may respond to the quest for knowledge; may bring peace and direction to unrestful souls; am afford certitude to doubting minds and relaxation for trouble emotions; any may always speak of YOU, the AUTHOR of all knowledge and wisdom, even if only in a whisper. Amen.
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