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Evelyn Mae (Bovee) Downey

Evelyn Mae (Bovee) Downey

Evelyn Mae Downey


- September 28, 2018

Evelyn Mae (Bovee) Downey, 96

The last song of the meadowlark and an autumn wind on the prairie took Evelyn home on September 26th, 2018.

She was born June 6, 1922 to Earl and Julia (Sutter) Bovee. She had one sister, Zesta (Ray) Limbo. She grew up around Bear Butte where she attended grade school at Spring Creek and the Odekoven Schools and graduated from Sturgis High School. She attended Spearfish Normal for one year. Evelyn met the love of her life, Lyle Downey, at a barn dance by Bear Butte. They were married for 57 wonderful years.

Through this union seven children were born: Lenore Brassfield, Richard (Susie) Downey, Linda (Gary) Anderson, Lianne (Brian) Brandrup, Randy (Marge) Downey, Rick (Kathy) Downey, and Lynette (Roy) Powell.

Our mom always felt like she never had a story or an accomplishment in her life. We always told her that her family was her accomplishment. We are not sure we ever convinced her but we would tell her, you raised seven fairly normal children (depending on who you ask) who then went on to give her 20 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren! That is an accomplishment. She was also proud that she had PTA membership cards spanning 40 years!!

Mom, grandma, or GG as she was called by many names was an avid crafter who loved crocheting! Christmas was always a time we could expect to be blessed with projects she had worked on all year! We always told mom that her homemade bread and cinnamon rolls could have made her a fortune and no matter how hard we tried no one ever perfected the recipes which called for a “little of this” or “a pinch of that” and of course “knead it until it feels like this”. Recipes from mom are sprinkled with all sorts of these directions! Oh and her gravy....

In their married life mom and dad always belonged to a bowling league and were great square dancers. Our mom was a short woman and watching that bowling ball make its way slowly down the lane was something to behold. 

Mom’s passion was searching for treasures and we are sure the many secondhand stores in town will see a dip in profits! Having lived through the depression, mom saw treasures where others often saw “junk”. Her room was packed with these gems and grandchildren and great grandchildren alike spent many hours fascinated by all the sounds from the solar powered dancing figures and the plethora of clocks! Mom also loved hunting for rocks and could be seen pulling her wagon as she searched the fields for a “special” one! 

A trip to the coast was a yearly event where we would go to see family from both sides. It is fun to tell stories about these trips as I’m sure we resembled the Clampets headed to Hollywood (if you don’t get that reference we are sad for you). Imagine taking all those children in cars that didn’t always have air conditioning, no entertainment for the kids (other than teasing and fighting amongst themselves) and the only way to keep a diaper supply (disposables weren’t a thing) was to wash them out in the motel and roll them up in car windows to dry on the ride the next day! But our parents always made sure we knew the value of family and our trips gave us experiences we might not otherwise have had. Drives in the hills, picnics, and LOTS of family time are some of our best memories.

Our mom grew up around Bear Butte where her family homesteaded and always held a special place in mom’s heart. She never passed up a picture of Bear Butte and her stories were great as well as educational! Mom never missed a class reunion and often spoke of her wish to be back in grade school in the one room school house at Bear Butte. Her grandchildren would sit in amazement as she spoke about rides to town in the horse and buggy, how ice cream was a rare treat, how she loved to ice skate on Bear Butte Lake, and how she was bitten by a rattlesnake and almost died. Our family held many family picnics at the Butte and climbing was a pilgrimage made by the younger generation as they imagined the life mom/gma led while living in the time and place she did.

Mom met and later married our dad who was also a Spearfish boy! They were married 57 years and mom served as the bookkeeper for Downey Tire Co. up until dad sold it. We often teased mom over how spoiled she was by dad but truly we were blessed to have parents who put family first and had a love story spanning 57 years. And actually beyond as mom never stopped talking about how much she missed dad who passed 20 years prior.

Mom always bragged about her penmanship awards in her one room school and was disgusted schools were considering not teaching cursive. She LOVED writing and receiving letters and her sister Zesta was her pen pal their entire lives! Mom kept this tradition alive through letter writing to her grandchildren who lived away. And yes there was a learning curve as they had to learn to read moms old fashioned cursive but what a treasure it was to receive a letter from gma!

Evelyn is survived by her seven children, 19 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren as well as her niece, Adeline Rasmussen.   She was preceded in death by her husband, Lyle; her sister, Zesta (Ray) Limbo; her infant sister, Earlene Bovee; her parents, Earl and Julia Bovee; her nephew, Andy Limbo; and her grandson, John Downey.

Mom would be proud to have a long obituary...

Services are set for 11am on Mon., Oct. 1 at Kirk Funeral Home in Rapid City, with visitation one hour before. Interment will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery at 12:30pm.

A memorial has been established to the Cornerstone Rescue Mission. Friends may sign Evelyn’s online guestbook at www.kirkfuneralhome.com.



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