Evelyn Rita (Applegate) Smith, age 97, of rural Knoxville, Iowa, passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday January 1st, 2022.
Evelyn was born at home in Marion County, the 5th of nine children of Kerns and Dottie (Rankin) Applegate. She attended several country schools in the Knoxville area before graduating from Attica High School in 1942. Evelyn married Paul Norris Smith in May of 1943 and they were blessed with 4 children.
Evelyn wore many hats being a farmer’s wife. She was the chief cook and bottle washer, oversaw the milking duties on their dairy farm and was their bookkeeper. She would be up at the crack of dawn, rain or shine, to round up the cows for milking and then do it all over again that evening, 7 days a week 365 days a year. In between milking shifts and weeding the garden she could whip up lunch for the men working in the field and then take them coffee time in the afternoon. Evelyn loved her animals in all shapes and sizes. She named each milk cow and never named any two the same name. When the herd grew to be over 100 she did have to get creative.
Evelyn loved her family and built their home with a kitchen big enough to have several tables to accommodate everyone. She was best known for her delicious homemade chicken and noodles and blarney stones. She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren and everyone knew when they came to Grandma Smith’s house they could have anything they wanted. Whether it was breakfast for supper or ice cream for breakfast. She was also known for throwing a great New Year’s Eve party that the Olive Chapel neighborhood would attend and many still remember to this day.
Evelyn and Paul enjoyed country music and most Saturday nights would be found at the Rathbun Country Music Theater. The house band and many regulars became their weekend family and they enjoyed sharing the experience with anyone that wanted to tag along. After retirement Evelyn and Paul enjoyed traveling with the Premier Club of Iowa State Bank. The Club gave them opportunities to travel across the world and many places in between. When asked if she had a good time she would say “yes” but then look out her kitchen window and say “but there’s nothing more beautiful than this view”. She loved her home and was blessed to remain there until her passing.
Those left to cherish Evelyn’s memory are her daughter Carol (Larry) Schurman and son Jeff (Amy) Smith of Knoxville, daughter Mary (David Rutter) Smith of Payson, Az, daughter-in law Dorcas Smith of Eldridge, Ia, and brother John Applegate of Knoxville. Grandchildren Darren (Thanom) Smith, Eldridge, Ia, Terrilynn (Dan) Zickel, Knoxville, Ia, Brian DesPlanque, Bussey, Ia, Amanda (Adam) Ahrens, Davenport, Ia, Holly (Bill) Burkhart, Knoxville, Ia, Josh (Ashley) Thompson, Adel, Ia, Ethan Smith and Kaden Smith both of Knoxville, Ia. And 13 great-grandchildren who loved her dearly.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Paul of 61 years, son Dennis, brothers William (WB), Kerns Jr. (Junior) sisters Louise Longcor, Phyllis Piagentini, Frieda Davis, Naomi Rutzinski, and Martha Anderson.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 10:00 A.M. at the Winfield Funeral Home in Knoxville. Visitation will be held prior to the service beginning at 9:00 A.M. with Evelyn’s family present to greet friends and relatives. Following services, a burial will be held at Olive Chapel Cemetery in rural Knoxville. A luncheon will be held at Attica United Methodist Church following burial.
Memorials may be given in Evelyn’s memory to Suncrest Hospice or Olive Chapel Cemetery.