Evelyn May Andrews
Evelyn May Andrews, 95, died early Monday, June 29, 2020, in her Cedar Rapids home of 60 years, with her favorite purple clematis roaring in triumphal bloom in the backyard.
Her daughter, Kaye Ross, was by her side as she had been since 2018, when four falls destroyed Evelyn's ability to walk. Evelyn suffered a small heart attack the week before her death, accelerating her decline.
A brother, Thurman "Bud" Hockemeyer, and his wife, Shirley, of New Haven, Ind., and five nieces and nephews also survive her. Karen Summers, whom Evelyn considered an adopted daughter, carries on her spirit in Dothan, Ala.
A memorial will be held later when COVID-19 has ebbed and Evelyn can have the joyous church sendoff she had planned. Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cedar Rapids, is assisting the family with arrangements. Please share a memory of Evelyn at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.
Evelyn was born at home April 8, 1925, in a German-American area outside Monroeville, Ind., to Martin F. and Edna Hockemeyer. Her dad imprinted the red barn with his name and "Just a Farm, 1920." Two rearing horses met when the front doors were closed.
Preferring furry creatures to cold dolls, Evelyn dressed the barn cats in her doll clothes and wheeled them around the barnyard in her baby buggy. Driving the draft horses, being a midwife to countless sheep and helping cook the gigantic dinner for the threshers every fall made Evelyn's childhood her favorite time of life.
Evelyn was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated from business college in nearby Fort Wayne, Ind. She worked as a secretary for the rest of her life until retirement.
At 19, she married Don John Ross in Fort Wayne. Don worked for Armed Forces Radio during World War II in New York, and Evelyn watched the Times Square celebration of V-E Day from her office window.
A beautiful woman with sparkling blue eyes who always put on makeup before leaving the house, Evelyn never met a stranger. She relished the next 12 years when she and Don lived all over the Northeast and Midwest. She learned how to make pizza from the Italians in Syracuse, N.Y., and babysat for Indian-American girls in Hartford, Conn. Every friendship she made was steadfastly maintained over the decades with letters and phone calls.
Soon after Kaye was born in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, Evelyn and Don moved to Cedar Rapids. The marriage did not survive.
Evelyn was a divorced, working mother when she met Robert K. Andrews at what was then the Community Theater. They married in 1957 and moved into the house on the southwest side, where Evelyn planted iris and peonies and kept a farmer's garden. Evelyn worked full time, cooked gourmet meals, volunteered at church and work and still was reading the newspaper every night long after Bob and Kaye had gone to bed. She was a force of nature all her life.
Evelyn and Bob were together more than 40 years. They were such beautiful ballroom dancers that people often cleared the floor to watch them. Bob, a multitalented administrator, pianist and handyman, preceded her in death.
In 1971, Evelyn became a friend of Bill's. It changed her life and gave her the confidence to apply for a job at Kirkwood Community College.
Evelyn was the secretary to all the professors in the social sciences department. But that was just the paying job. She also mothered the students, giving the poor ones money to buy gas to get to school, and rescued feral cats from campus utility buildings. One student in her work-study program became a lifelong friend, who remembered her with flowers every birthday. Evelyn did so much for others that she was recognized with the President's Award in 1983-84.
At Kirkwood, Evelyn got the college education she always deserved.
A lifelong Lutheran, Evelyn joined Hope Lutheran Church in 1964. Hope was her family, and Evelyn volunteered there several days a week, being named Outstanding Woman in 2003.
Evelyn asked that memorials be made in her name to the Mortgage Fund, Hope Lutheran Church, 2736 Bowling St. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.
As all of Evelyn's friends know, there never was an animal Evelyn didn't want to adopt. She found a gosling wandering the road at Eastertime and raised it to adulthood. She nursed a robin that fell out of a tree before fledging. She had as many as five cats at one time and, even in her last year, cheered her daughter as she saved a stray cat from a storm. Evelyn was so happy when Pastor Dan Clark-Bridges told her that all her pets would meet her in heaven.
It now will be left to Kaye to keep Evelyn's backyard chipmunks, squirrels, birds and bunnies as happy and healthy as she would have.