November 19, 2020
Della M. Evans passed away in her sleep peacefully in the early hours of November 13, 2020. Della was born during the Great Depression on May 7th, 1929. Born in Colfax, Wash., Della was the daughter of Harvey and Lenora Barr, who pioneered the steep hills north of the small town of Riparia on the Snake River breaks of southeast Whitman County. The youngest of four children, she had an older sister, Virginia (Bell) and two older brothers, Scott and Clay Barr. Della's home for the first eight years of her life was on a farmstead on Alkali Creek, a mile upstream from the town of Riparia, Wash. In her early years during World War II, Della attended a two-room school in Riparia until her family moved to Colfax in 1943. She attended high school until the family moved to Washtucna, where she graduated in 1947. Della attended Washington State College (University) between 1951-1954, where she pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.
Married to William (Bill) H. Evans in 1954, they farmed the Snake River Ranches continuously for over 50 years in the southwest corner of Whitman County. As with most things in her life, Della approached every day on the farm with a sense of determination and appreciation for a job well done. The rolling, often steep, arid hills of Snake River Ranches was in Della's blood. She never shied away from hard work. She embraced her role as matriarch for large crews of work hands and of course her loving family. Della often expressed that her most valued role on this earth was that of a mother to three children. Bill and Della were the proud parents of Scott Evans, Shann Skillman (Webley), and Joe Evans. She was a pivotal part of life for seven grandchildren who were blessed to have grown to adulthood knowing their grandmother and learning the many life lessons she had to share. There are nine great-grandchildren who also had the unique opportunity to know and love their "GG," and they will no doubt grow up hearing many stories about Great-Grandma Della.
Della embraced nearly any community she was part of. The 4-H organization was a point of pride in Della's life. She served as a 4-H leader for 25 years and on the Washington State 4-H Foundation for 10 years. For several of those years, she served as the Washington State 4-H Leader President. For her many years of service she was recognized when she became one of the first to be inducted into the State 4-H Hall of Fame. She also served her community through her involvement with the Whitman Hospital as a Board Member for 25 years. Many people throughout Whitman County recall Della as the lady with the camera around her neck at the Palouse Empire Fair. She was a mainstay at the yearly fair, where she volunteered for over 30 years. After she stepped back as an active volunteer, she was invited to be the Grand Marshall and inducted into the Palouse Empire Fair Hall of Fame. Della was proud to have been a life-long Republican, but until her final days she liked to remind people that "she was a free thinking one."
Della approached life without fear. She had many interests and no matter what they were she approached them with 100% commitment. Throughout her life she was an avid reader and historian. Through her many writings, photo albums, and publications, her family will have the opportunity to remember her clearly for many years to come. She was a devoted Mariner baseball and WSU fan. Among all of her accomplishments, one that she held dear to her final days, was the fact that she attended nearly every sporting event, livestock show, special occasion, and milestone of each of her children and grandchildren. Among the many things she enjoyed in life, the personal highlights for her included traveling the United States with her husband and seeing the joy and appreciation from others as they enjoyed the fruits of her labor from an extensive garden or her skills in canning pickles and baking pies.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that any memorial donations be made to Palouse Empire Fair Foundation, 223 N. Main St. Colfax, WA 99111. Friends and family will be invited to share memories and laughs at a memorial service to be announced in the future. Bruning Funeral Home is caring for the family. On-line condolences can be made at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com.