It was two years ago today that my sister and I said a final goodbye to our mother. She had died on March 28th, and on April 2nd. we had a memorial Mass for her at the local Catholic church. I was honored to be able to sing her into heaven with two of my kids, Dany and Mike, and it was a very blessed experience.
I wrote a blog piece a few weeks after she died titled as one of my Monday Morning Musings where I shared the experience of being there and some of the things that were so special about her, including a love of the book, Bunny Blue. My daughter wrote a story for one of her literature classes, “Evelyn and the Blue Bunny” which was inspired by an experience her daughter had coloring a bunny blue in school and the art teacher telling her that there were no blue bunnies. We all know there are.
My mother was a very creative person, being quite a good primitive artist, and I think her creative spirit is hanging around, fueling art and writing from several family members. By now, you all do know that my book, Evelyn Evolving, is her story.
The following is her official obituary, which tells briefly some of the challenges she faced in life, as well as what she was able to do when things got a bit better.
Evelyn Louise Van Gilder was born April 28, 1919 to George and Regina (Heft) Gundrum. She had a sister, Viola, who was two years older, and when they were very young the parents separated and the girls were put in an orphanage in Milwaukee, WI. They stayed there until approximately age 12, when they were sent out to work as housekeepers and live-in baby sitters.
At about age 18, Evelyn went to Detroit to work and there met Russell Van Gilder. They married and had two children, Juanita and Maryann. Evelyn and Russell divorced when the girls were young, and Evelyn raised them by herself, working as a maid and house-cleaner to supplement child support and government assistance. Evelyn worked hard all of her life and made the best home she could for her daughters. She enjoyed going to the movies and reading, even though she didn’t have much of an education.
She was quite a talented primitive artist, drawing and coloring, as well as doing handwork such as crocheting and knitting. All of the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and many friends have something that was made with love with loving hands.
She is survived by daughter, Juanita Gallup of Lake City, Daughter, Maryann of Winnsboro, Texas, and Son-in-law, Robert Gallup of Lake City, 13 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Viola, and her son-in-law, Carl Miller.