Evelyn Stephen always trusted God’s plan for her life.
Although that plan was not without difficulties – including four bouts with cancer – it also brought her many joyful years with a loving family. On August 22, 2022, God’s plan brought her home to heaven. She died peacefully at her house in Iowa Falls after a brief illness, surrounded by loved ones.
Born Evelyn Alice Powers in 1934 at her parents’ home in Oskaloosa, she grew up the seventh of eight children. At Oskaloosa High School, Evelyn was a member of the National Honor Society, a cheerleader, a member of the choir, and Oskaloosa Relay Queen her senior year.
After graduating in 1952, Evelyn moved to Moline, Ill., where she had a good job at Deere & Co. But she gave it up to marry her favorite marine, Dick Stephen, on July 10, 1955. The newlyweds soon moved to the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif., where they had their eldest daughter, Connie.
After living in California for almost two years, the couple moved back to Iowa, where Dick went into the dry-cleaning business, and they had two more daughters, Christy and Kim.
Although being a mother to her “three angels” was Evelyn’s favorite job, she also worked alongside her husband in the dry-cleaning plant. She was fond of reminding him that she never received a paycheck.
She also found time to participate in a bowling league and to learn to knit and crochet, making blankets, sweaters, slippers, and mittens for her daughters.
The family followed Dick’s dry-cleaning business all over Iowa – and even briefly into Minnesota. By the time Dick and Evelyn moved to Sioux City in 1990, Evelyn noted that she had moved more than 20 times in her life.
When the moving company unloaded the boxes into the garage at their new house, Evelyn told the movers she wouldn’t bother unpacking them because she and Dick would probably just move again soon.
This time, though, they stayed put for nearly three decades – the longest Evelyn ever lived in one place. Their house in Sioux City was the backdrop for many happy birthday celebrations, Christmases, Thanksgivings, and Easters.
In Sioux City, Evelyn was very involved in the community as a member of the Sioux City Women’s Club, the Girls of ’68, and the Literary Outlook Club.
She was an active member of Grace United Methodist Church and leaned on her faith as she battled a series of cancers. Her experiences with this illness inspired her to volunteer at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City.
It was also in Sioux City that Evelyn was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Although this disease made her increasingly reliant on Dick’s attentive caregiving, it never robbed Evelyn of her friendliness or infectious sense of humor.
To be closer to their daughters, the couple moved in 2019 to Iowa Falls, where Evelyn and Dick have enjoyed watching the many deer and birds that visited their yard.
Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest Jacob and Nellie Hazel Powers, brothers Carroll and Kenneth Powers, and four sisters, Arlene Emmons, Margaret Stought, Donna Cubit, and Marilyn Chambers.
Evelyn is survived by her husband, Dick Stephen, daughters Connie Stephen, Christy (favorite son-in-law Craig) Schmidt, and Kimberly Stephen; twelve grandchildren, Nick (Courtney) Woltman, Brian Woltman, Emily Woltman (Troy), Cory Schmidt (Mara), Casey Schmidt, Lindsay Schmidt, Scott Schmidt (JuVie), Matthew Schmidt (Olga), Erica Craig (Todd), Elisha (Matt) Westbrook, Aaron Craig, Alex (Desiree) Craig; a sister, Patty Cleland and also a special family friend, Rick Dolash.
Visitation will be held on Friday, August 26, 2022, in the First Christian Church in Oskaloosa at 11:00 am. Funeral services at noon with luncheon following. Burial will be in the Forest Cemetery in Oskaloosa. The Langkamp Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Evelyn’s favorite charity.