We mourn the loss of our mother, Evelyn Crossfield Degenhart, who passed away on Oct. 15, 2019, at age 93.
Evelyn was born on March 2, 1926, in Big Timber, the second daughter to Inga Tjaaland Crossfield and Edmund Crossfield, with the help of a midwife. She enjoyed growing up in Big Timber and swimming in the Boulder River. The Crossfields moved to Billings when she was about 11 years old. She attended McKinley, Lincoln and Senior High, and worked at the Northern Hotel and Woolworth’s.
The city girl married Raymond Degenhart on June 10, 1944. Daughter Sheri and Diane joined the family with no running water or toilet. Nick and Darah joined the family in the early ’60s at a new house across from the farm. Evie adapted well to country life and kept busy gardening, cooking, sewing dresses, pants, doll clothes, curtains and even pleated drapery. She would enter Sheri and Diane in Easter dress programs held at Hart Albin and Vaughn & Ragsdale stores. She also sewed for friends — hemming, taking in or out, and sometimes remaking the entire outfit. Living on a farm, Mom and Dad kept a large garden, and Mom canned almost everything. She was bookkeeper for the dairy and helped cook for the hired hands. Mom also took care of the whole family’s hair needs, cutting and permanents, for parents, in-laws, grandparents, men and women, all self-taught. It was a busy farm life, but they still found time to dance or play cards every weekend and traveled extensively until Ray passed away in 2000.
Evie was active in her church life. She was treasurer of St. Patrick’s Altar Society, was a member of St. Christopher’s Circle and taught CCD at Bernard’s. She repaired vestments for Fr. Charles at the Prior Mission and, as a member of the knitting ministry at St. Bernard’s, made prayer shawls. She helped put on many spaghetti dinners and rummage sales for the church. She was also a volunteer at the Cheri-Nook at St. Vincent Hospital.
Evie was spirited and strong-willed. She always tried to make the best of everything and maintain a positive attitude, as she dealt with many hardships. She loved visiting with friends, neighbors, relatives and strangers. She loved her Norwegian and German heritage and cooking favorite dishes. She put on large family dinners for every birthday and holiday. She enjoyed late night TV, dancing, pinochle, bridge, bowling, knitting, crochet, and took up painting in her 60s. She became an accomplished artist after only a few classes from Elliot Eaton, Mana Lesman, and watching Jerry Arnell on TV. She painted with watercolors, acrylics and oils, creating beautiful pictures decorating their house and others, and earning ribbons at the fair. Dad, the woodworker, would make lathed items and frames and Mom would paint to sell at craft fairs.
She is preceded in death by her sister, Bertha; her parents; her beloved husband, Ray, of 56 years; and her son, Nick.
Evie was a devoted mother and leaves behind three children: Sheri (Nick) Kisch, Diane (Ron) Kostelecky, Darah (Moses) Moore and daughter-in-law Diane Degenhart; eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at St. Bernard’s Parish, 226 Wicks Lane, with the vigil at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, and the funeral mass at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.