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1950 Evelyn 2024

Evelyn Anderson

October 26, 1950 — June 9, 2024

Evie Anderson


(In Her Words - Spring 2024)


My full name is Evelyn (Evie) Beth Irvin Harper Anderson. I was born October 26, 1950 in Dallas, Texas to Aurelia (Vene) Wilkinson Irvin and Lynn Burdell Irvin. I was the onlygirl, a middle child, with two brothers and two half-brothers. I grew up in Oak Cliff, a part of Dallas which, at the time, had a small town feel. I had a wonderful childhood where my dog Pal and I could go anywhere together. I especially enjoyed the summers at one of Dallas' Junior Pools/Parks which offered swimming, arts and crafts, games and sports. I attended St. Cecilia Catholic School for elementary school, and then went to Greiner Jr. High. I graduated from Sunset High School in Dallas in 1969.


I loved baton twirling and was fortunate enough to be a majorette at Sunset and at East Texas State University (ETSU), now called Texas A & M Commerce. I was part of a dance twirl ensemble at both schools. As a child I spent many hours practicing twirling on the sidewalk in front of our house. I owed my success at twirling to my longtime instructor, Lawrence J. Rabeck. He not only taught me how to twirl, but to how to "sell myself" and be more confident in life.


While attending ETSU I met the love of my life, Billy Jim Harper, Jr. We were married on June 12, 1971, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Commerce, Texas. During our life together, I pursued a career as a teacher while Jim entered the Human Resources field. In 1972, I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and Kindergarten with a minor in Physical Education. In 1976, I earned a Master of Education degree in Early Childhood with a minor in Earth Sciences. I taught 12 years in Garland ISD, teaching Kindergarten and Third Grade. Jim and I moved to San Antonio for one year where I taught First Grade in Judson ISD.


In 1986, Jim and I moved to Forney, Texas, where I taught school for 21 years, teaching Kindergarten and Second Grade at Forney Primary, now called Criswell Elementary. I had always known I would be a teacher. During the summers between college semesters, I worked as a coach/swimming instructor at some of Dallas' Junior Pools. While at ETSU I taught private baton twirling lessons. While teaching school, after hours I taught Aerobic Dancing at various locations for 10 years. Teaching was my passion. While teaching in Forney, I found second grade was my favorite grade. My best teacher friend, Cheryl DeJong, and I worked together to make school a fun learning experience, which I feel is vital to a child's education.


Jim and I had had a wonderful marriage of 41 years. Jim was involved with his career and he loved flying his airplane...a Birddog. I paralleled my love for teaching with my love for horses. I had always had a friend who had a horse I could ride until one day it dawned on me that I could get my own horse.


So, at age 30, I bought my first horse, named Ace. Along with my teacher friend and riding buddy, Cynthia Harris, we spent countless hours in the saddle together. Having a horse prompted us to move to Forney, TX to a house with acreage. Before long, another special teacher friend and riding buddy, Tory Hendry, gave me a mare horse named Moon Rhapsody, called Rappy. She delivered a colt named Rockwall's Moon, called Rocky. This horse was what I had always dreamed of having!


We next bought a home and property in Poetry, TX. I joined a group of ladies called the Saddlebags. This unique group of ladies shared a love for horses and were always present through the good times and the sad times. I was always grateful for their friendship and support. After 34 years, it was very difficult for me to retire at age 56. I knew I would miss the classroom, but my love for Jim was more important. Jim had Parkinson's disease and needed my love and care. We built a house in Poetry on land for my horses. We needed a house that would accommodate Jim's Parkinson's limitations. I was present in his life for the next five years until he died in July 2012.


Following the death of Jim, I was planning on being "the little old lady on the corner". But, how quickly things changed. One of my Saddlebag friends, Linda Anderson, died 12 days before Jim in July 2012. Linda and her husband, Tom, had been our neighbors. Several months later, Tom asked me to dinner and that was the beginning of a unique relationship. Tom and I shared the loss of our spouses. We also shared many beautiful stories of our marriages with Jim and Linda, and cried many tears together. Tom had been married to Linda for 42 years, and Jim and I were married for 41 years.


Tom and I had a lot of similarities. One thing was for sure...we both loved being married and could not see ourselves alone for the rest our lives. So, on August 24, 2013, we were married at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Rockwall, Texas. Tom and I have now been married for 10 years.


I sold my "house on the corner" and moved to Tom's house about one mile away. Along with me came my 2 horses, 3 dogs and 4 cats. So, we began our life together with 8 horses, 6 dogs and 4 cats! I always had a soft spot in my heart for


animals, and strays always seemed to find us. I was a very project-oriented person. I got this trait from my Dad. I enjoyed organizing and painting. I was always cleaning out closets, drawers, cabinets, storage sheds, tack rooms and barns. It made me feel good to see everything organized. I painted the inside and outside of our houses, pipe fences, barns and stalls.


Being retired, we had time for traveling. My bucket-list had always included going to Disney World, seeing the Giant Sequoia Trees in California, and visiting New York City. We did all that and much more. We spent our honeymoon in Alaska on a land and sea adventure. We traveled to National Parks and visited family and friends in many states. We updated our home and added on a master bed room downstairs. Life with Tom has been full of many new and different experiences. In 2015 Tom became a Grandpa to Inanna, so I became a Grandma. I love Inanna and always enjoy time with her. I joined a group of senior ladies who did twirling and dancing at nursing homes and events around the DFW area. The group is called Twirl Fun. I loved the twirling, dancing, and the deep friendship of the Twirl Fun ladies.


One of our most memorable trips was a two week trip in 2017 to England, France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. My brothers Gerald and Pepper, and Pepper's wife Cindie, joined us. We visited places where my dad, Lynn Irvin, had been in WWII and where he fought as part of Patton's Third Army. We saw where he entered France at Omaha Beach, then where fought in Metz, France, Dillingen, Germany, and in the Battle of the Bulge. We visited a mill in Sonlez, Luxembourg, where he was part of a squad that stormed a German Command Post and captured many prisoners.


This was during January 1945 in one of the coldest periods recorded in northern Europe. We walked down the road where he was leading the prisoners away from the mill. and saw where he was severely wounded by a German sniper. He laid in the snow for hours until medical help returned. I always cherished the trip. It was a life changing event that helped me understand my dad, his toughness, and what he accomplished during WWll. He was awarded four bronze battle stars! Our final trip, on the tenth anniversary of our marriage, was in August 2023. We spent seven days on a Danube River Cruise, going from Germany to Budapest. We had excursions every day to historic cities and sites. I will be survived by my husband Tom Anderson, my brothers Gerald Lynn Irvin and James Edwin Irvin, my sister-in-law Cynthia Irvin and multiple nieces and nephews.


I always wanted children and was pregnant once in my 20s. I had a miscarriage and never got pregnant again. However, my great-nephew, Daxton Osment, has lived with us the past six years, from age 12 to 18. He is a special person. If I had a son I would have wanted him to be like Dax. He is smart, witty, caring, honest, handsome, dependable, polite, ambitious, a great listener, an excellent student, and a good basketball player. I love Dax. In 2021 we took Dax and one of his friends, Matthew Smith, on a two week trip to Virginia and Washington DC. The following year we took Dax and Matthew on a two week trip to to New York City and New England. Both trips were filled with fun, education and long, deep conversations. (Dax graduated from Quinlan, TX High School a few weeks before Evie died. She was at his graduation. Dax will attend Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, the Fall of 2024.)


I have had a good life. I am not afraid of death. I was blessed with two wonderful husbands. Each marriage was filled with different experiences and opportunities. I gave love and felt loved! I had an abundance of friends. I loved my family. I found comfort and joy with my faith in God and attending weekly mass in the Catholic Church. I was happy with my teaching career. I loved being surrounded by pets. I loved riding horses, twirling and dancing. I was labeled as a "Glass Half Full" person. What more could a person want in life!


My Grandfather, William Carlton Wilkinson, had the following poem hanging on a wall in his house.


When the Golden Sun is setting,


And your mind of troubles free,


When of others you are thinking,


Will you sometimes think of me?

(Evie was found to have a malignant and inoperable brain tumor, Glioblastoma, in January 2024. She was treated by radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy at UT Southwestern Hospital in Dallas, TX. She passed away peacefully from complications of the tumor on June 9, 2024, at her home in Poetry, TX, surrounded by her family and friends. A funeral mass will be held for her on July 4, 2024 at 11:00 am at St John Catholic Church in Terrell, TX. It will be followed by a catered lunch in the parish hall across the street from the church. After lunch,, at 3:00 PM, her ashes will be buried at New Hope Cemetery in Sunnyvale, TX.)

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