Evelyn Rose Koenig, long-time Conrad resident, passed away on August 3, 2017.
Evelyn was born on May 8, 1929 on a farm near Collins, Montana to Albertine and Jack O’Keefe. She was her father’s delight and he nicknamed her Dolly, a name that stuck throughout her life, much to her chagrin. Born in the year of the great crash, Evelyn had many stories about growing up as a child of the Depression. She would tell of getting an orange for Christmas and how grateful they were for it and how they were poor but they didn’t know it because everyone was poor.
She attended country school and described riding to school in a sleigh with hot bricks heated on the back of the woodstove to keep their feet warm. Her brother John ran the farm when their brother Orville (aka Mick) was deployed to the European theater in World War II. She and her sister Leona moved to Choteau and lived in a boarding house so they could attend high school. She graduated from Choteau High School in 1947, making life-long friends in her small group of classmates.
After graduation, Evelyn attended Concordia College in Moorehead, Minnesota, taking business classes. Her college experience was cut short her sophomore year when her father became terminally ill. After her father’s death, she moved to Conrad to take a job as the bookkeeper at Newman’s, a Chrysler dealership. There she met a mechanic named Don Koenig.
Don eagerly courted Evelyn, asking him to marry her multiple times before she finally said yes. They were married March 19, 1953. They made their home on the Koenig farm, south west of Conrad. In December of that same year they welcomed their first daughter Jacalyn. Through the years more children were welcomed: Patricia, Christine, Michael and Margaret.
Evelyn was a hard-working farm wife, raising the children, canning and freezing all the vegetables from Don’s enormous garden. She earned the moniker “the egg-lady” from her years of cleaning, candling and selling eggs from the farm chickens. She was active in Pondera Valley Lutheran church, sewing quilts for the layettes that parish put together for the poor. She loved using scraps of materials to create warm, wonderful quilts for family, friends and anyone who needed one.
Evelyn was known for her kindness, baking and sharing cookies and cinnamon rolls with so many people around town. She loved rummage sales and was always on the hunt for the next 25 cent treasure.
She was an amazing mother to her five children, sharing her wonderful sense of humor and common sense. Evelyn found even greater joy in her 10 grandchildren, spoiling them with love, attention and “a cookie for each hand”.
She is proceeded in death by her husband of 60 years, Donald, and her brother John. She is survived by her five loving children and their spouses: Jacalyn (Jeff) Laverdiere, Helena; Patricia (Len) VandenBos, Valier; Christine (Jim) Bjelland, Conrad; Michael (Cindy) Koenig, Conrad; Margaret (Christopher) Herriges; Helena and well as grandchildren Ben and Suzanne Williams, Jere, Jeff and Gina VandenBos, Kelsey, Karl and Konnor Bjelland, Morgan Koenig and Collin Herriges, as well as great-grandchildren Jax Williams and Ainsley and Austyn VandenBos. She is also survived by her brother Orville O’Keefe (Great Falls), sister Leona Elings (Conrad), sisters-in-law Bernice Muir (Sidney) and Joan Keegan (Spokane) as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
She left all those who knew her with wonderful memories and stories of the kindnesses she shared. Memorials in Evelyn’s name may be made to the Pondera Valley Lutheran Church.
A private graveside service will be held at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Conrad. A memorial service will be held for all family and friends at the Pondera Valley Lutheran Church Monday, August 7, 2017 at 2:00 P.M. Asper Funeral Homes are in care of the arrangements.