Evelyn was born September 13, 1939, the first child born to Floyd and Rachel Clark. She had one sister and three brothers: Mary Lou, Dale, Darrel and Larry. They all grew up in and around Barnes, Kansas where their parents farmed and drove trucks. Evelyn attended one room schools in Washington County and then high school at the Barnes High School.
Evelyn met her husband Gary in 1954 when Gary was working for her father on his custom combine team, harvesting wheat from Oklahoma to North Dakota. They became long distance sweethearts while he attended school in Manhattan and then left for the Navy in 1955. Evelyn enjoyed all the activities of high school, singing in the choruses, participating in class plays and cheerleading.
Gary proposed to Evelyn when he was home on leave from the Navy on Christmas of 1956. After serious consideration, Evie gave away her cherished Elvis Presley wallet, the possession of which seemed like a conflict of interest! They were married the week after Evie graduated high school on May 19, 1957.
Gary had experienced two turbulent households as his mother struggled with unstable husbands. He says his romance with Evie was like a Cinderella story and all their life together it remained that way. Their life together was filled with love, happiness and acceptance for 63 years. Gary remembers a few disagreements, but all were resolved before they fell asleep that day.
Evie and Gary had three children: Rochelle, Colette and Donnie. Their married life started off in Corpus Christi, TX in a tiny mobile home, but in 1966 they built their own home in the country near Silver Lake, next door to their childhood friends Marvin and Charlotte Cairns. Evie was a wonderful cook, baking pies, providing homecooked meals and preserving the vegetables the family grew in the garden. Every summer Evie took the children to orchards and farms to pick fruits for preserving.
Summers were special for the Funke family. A special Friday was always dedicated to Funke’s Fun Friday at Gage Park and Zoo. Family vacations were camping trips to Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado, where Evie tirelessly provided meals for her family and played cards late into the night. Evie overcame her fear of the water and took swimming lessons with her children at the Topeka YWCA. Evie and Charlotte frequently drove all their children to the swimming pool in St. Marys each summer.
Evie’s artistic talent wasn’t explored until she discovered crafting with the Craft of the Month club. She took classes in tole and oil painting and created numerous paintings for her family. Evie was a talented seamstress, making clothes for her family and herself all her life. She sewed Colette’s wedding dress and even a stylish leisure suit for Gary. She made numerous dress-up costumes for her grandchildren. She re-upholstered her furniture and sewed drapes for her living room.
Evie loved playing all sorts of games. Games of Pounce could get spirited, and other games could go far into the night. Pinochle was a favorite game to play with other couples, and the family played many games of rummy while camping and over Christmas vacations. Evelyn enjoyed playing Bunco and hosting Bunco parties with her neighborhood friends. Evelyn was a champion Scrabble player and knew every obscure and archaic word that was legal.
After her first daughter left home, Evie began attending Washburn University in 1977 and received her Associates Degree. In the 1980s she created quilted handbags and sold them at craft fairs all over Kansas and retail stores in Texas, Florida, Colorado and California. She sold real estate and built her own tax preparation business while still maintaining her home and serving in her church. During her first year of selling real estate she sold one million dollars worth of real estate.
Evie was a Sunday School teacher, women’s group leader and led a class on teaching Sunday School at the Kansas State Christian Convention. She and Gary frequently opened their home to missionaries and youth ministers and were founding members of Rolling Hills Christian Church. She cooked and hosted innumerable Sunday dinners for friends and family. For many years Evie regularly visited Linda Andrews, a woman living at the Silver Lake Rest Home who had no family to visit her. Gary and Evie visited hospital patients with food and fellowship and ministered at the Topeka Rescue Mission with their church. She was a camp counselor at King Solomon Camp with other women from the church (frequently pulling pranks on the other counselors.)
Gary and Evie loved to travel and visited almost all the states, including Alaska and Hawaii. They especially liked visiting state capitol buildings. Before traveling to Holland and Germany they studied German so they could speak with the people there. Another trip to England was cut short when Gary’s back went out. On the way home a friendly ticket agent made sure they both flew home first class. Other trips were taken with good friends around Kansas and Missouri to bed and breakfast inns.
Evie was blessed with six grandchildren: Caleb and Joshua Fangman, Abbey, Jeet and Amit Chanda and Brian Gragert and two great grandchildren Dylan Trantham and Beau Fangman. Evie loved spending time with her grandchildren, taking them to the park and zoo, playing games with them, and sewing with them. When her twin grandsons were born she traveled to Illinois to care for them while their father was undergoing cancer treatments. Her grandchildren enjoyed exploring in the woods around their house on Camden Lane in Topeka and trying on her square dance costumes.
Evelyn’s death was preceded by the deaths of her parents, one brother, Darrell, one son, Donnie, her grandsons Jeet Chanda and Joshua Fangman.
Evelyn is survived by her husband of 63 years, Gary, her daughters Rochelle and Colette, and her grandchildren, Caleb Fangman, Abbey and Amit Chanda, and Brian Gragert and great grandchildren Dylan Trantham and Beau Fangman.
A funeral service will be at 2:00pm, Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at Rolling Hills Christian Church, 4530 NW Hiawatha Pl, Topeka, KS 66618. A visitation will take place at the church the hour prior, at 1:00pm. Masks are required.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Olathe Health Hospice House, 15310 Marion St. Olathe, KS 66061.
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