On March 15, 2021, Evelyn DeWitt passed away in her home after a 6-month battle with cancer. She was surrounded by 5 generations of her family.
Evelyn Rosella Wilson was born June 21, 1935 to Lawrence (Bill) and Edith Wilson. Her sisters were Molly, Louise, and Dorothy. Her family would travel with the seasons for work in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon areas doing everything from harvesting peas to hauling post and poles. They lived in their harvest truck, tents, or with relatives until Evelyn was 7 and needed to be in school. It was then that she lived in her first house.
When Evelyn was 8, she had Polio. Her dad would put her on a horse to go to school, and her teacher would take her off when she got there. Gradually, she got well.
Evelyn graduated from 8th grade in Buhl, Idaho and then began working at Green Giant Manufacturing. During the next few years, she was able to attend school part time, while she continued working. When Evelyn was 16 years old, she married Bert Eugene Atwood. Over the next two years, they had two daughters, Verna and Beverly. They later divorced. After that, Evelyn would take the girls to work with her picking green beans. The girls would play at the end of the rows while she worked.
In 1955, Evelyn met the man she would spend the rest of her life with, Cornelious (Neal) DeWitt. They had a son, Marlin, in 1957. They moved with her Dad and Mom to the mountains 27 miles from La Grande, Oregon. They lived in tents until the snow was too deep and then they rented a house in Hilgard. They later moved to Starkey, (now Camp Elkanah) and lived there until the fall of 1971. During those years in Oregon, they cut posts and poles and sold them in Nevada. Evelyn cut poles with a hand bow saw. They then started logging and Evelyn’s job was driving the cat skidding the logs. After moving to Riggins, Idaho in 1971, their family continued logging.
In November of that year, Verna met and married Joaquin Lowe and he began logging with them. Beverly married Dave Wilson and worked on the Cross O Ranch. Marlin married Teresa Walker and continued to drive skidder as he had since he was 14 years old. During that time, Evelyn had a store in Riggins where she sold her beautiful redwood tables and lamps that she had made. In 1985, they moved to White Bird and bought the Old Mill Site and started a Post and Pole business. They sold that in 1989 due to Neal’s health. This began their 26 years of being “snow birds” in Arizona. During the summer months, they purchased and developed properties from Pinehurst to Elk City, Idaho. One of Evelyn’s greatest accomplishments was developing the Swift Water RV Park and the two homes next to it. One of their last developments was “Pa’s Mountain”, which was named by their great grandchildren. They repurchased the “Old Mill Site” and it became our family’s playground. Pa’s Mountain was sold after Neal’s death and Evelyn spent her remaining years in the town of White Bird.
Evelyn has left Verna (Joaquin) Lowe, Beverly Wilson, Marlin DeWitt. 6 Grandchildren: Chad (Gail) Lowe, Nicole Lowe, Amy Wilson, Kristy Beckstead, Shamra DeWitt, and Brianna DeWitt. 9 Great Grandchildren: 2 Great, great grandchildren. We were blessed to have a 5-generation family.
Some of our greatest memories have been at the “Old Mill Site” where we have shared many family gatherings. This place holds a very special place in all our hearts and is where we plan to celebrate Evelyn’s life.
A graveside service will be held at the White Bird Cemetery at 4:00 pm on Saturday, April 17, 2021. A potluck dinner and family music will follow at the Mill Site. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to blackmerfuneralhome.com.