Evelyn was born March 4, 1926 in Austin, Minn., and was the only daughter of George and Margaret Anderson, and sister to four brothers. She loved to climb trees and enjoyed being a tomboy. At age 18, she owned and operated a gas station. In order to meet sales quotas in the winter, she cut and sold ice blocks. She married Leonard “Smokey” Cramer, her childhood sweetheart, and thereafter, committed her life to homemaking. She applied excellence to all that she did, keeping a clean and organized home, managing the family finances, and committing her time and energies to caring for their 10 children. She was a capable seamstress, often making her own patterns and sewing clothes for her many children. In 1959, the family moved to Isanti County, where they made their home on a farm. During hard times in the early 60s, she applied and was accepted for the Nurses’ Aid Program at the Cambridge State School and Hospital. There she excelled at her job and particularly enjoyed working with the infants and toddlers. She was then diagnosed with serious heart disease and told to quit her job “if she wanted to see her children graduate.” She took a small break to recover health before returning to work again, and continued to manage the many tasks of wife and mother.
When asked about her greatest joy and achievement in life, she answered without hesitation: her children. She served tirelessly and selflessly, always putting the needs of her children and husband before her own.
After the children graduated, she and her husband moved to Cambridge, and finally in 1986, they moved to Mora to enjoy their retirement years. Evelyn began making new friends and continued to find great enjoyment in her sewing—making patchwork quilts for her children and for every newborn grandbaby in the family. She also sewed quilts for other people, and eventually lost count of the total number of quilts she had made. In 2001 she underwent surgery for a goiter, and was diagnosed with B-Cell Lymphoma. She went through a round of radiation treatments and recovered. Her husband died in 2005, but Evelyn continued to live in her own home after this, enjoying her sewing projects, tending to her flowers, and planting a small garden where her neighbors could enjoy helping themselves to her fresh tomatoes. During this time, she also had bouts with congestive heart failure and was hospitalized numerous times. She would often tease that the “golden years” were really the “old rusty years.” Her health took a downward turn this summer and she never regained her strength. Her final two weeks were spent at Eastwood Senior Living where she was tenderly cared for.
She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers, and two infant sons, Larry and Lavern. One of the joys that she faced in her final weeks was the anticipation of being reunited with these loved ones.
She is survived by three sons; Marvin (Ginie) Cramer of White Bear Lake, Maynard (Deb) Cramer of Stacy, Leonard (Trish) Cramer of Bloomington, five daughters; Darlene (Ken) Dahlberg of Ashley, N.D., Lola Nelson of Mora, Dianna (Greg) Kasprzak of Mora, Cheryl Cramer of Cambridge, Mona Enzenauer of Witchita Falls, Texas, 28 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren, 8 great-great-grandchildren, and sister-in-law Marian Torno of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at New Hope Christian Reformed Church in Ogilvie with Pastor Greg Kasprzak and Pastor Bob Bohachek officiating. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. prior to services at church. Music will be provided by Mike Palmer, Aseneth Palmer, Mark Scherer, Karla Fuller, Joshua Kasprzak and Louise Webb. Casketbearers are Marvin Cramer, Maynard Cramer, Leonard Cramer, Jr., Shelly Larson, Lorie Dixon, Leonard Cramer, III, Matthew Cramer, Jason Cramer and Benjamin Cramer. Interment will be at Oakwood Cemetery, Mora, Minn.
Arrangements by Dresser-Methven Funeral Home, Mora, Minn.