Eileen Mary Evans, 92, of LeRoy, Minnesota died peacefully at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus in Rochester in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 26, 2023.
Visitation will be held on Friday, July 28, from 4-7, with Rosary preceding at 3:30 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in LeRoy. Preceded by a visitation at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 29, services will be held at 11 a.m., at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in LeRoy, with burial to be held following at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in LeRoy.
Born the first of 13 children on March 31, 1931 in International Falls, MN to Romeo and Marie Karsnia, she married Alfred R. Evans, a native of western Nebraska, on Oct. 16, 1950 in International Falls, Minnesota. The couple met at a dance in Canada while he was working for the newspaper in International Falls. She worked in a pharmacy soda fountain early in her life and graduated from International Falls High School. After marriage, the couple moved to Anchorage, Alaska and then lived all over the Midwest including Tiskilwa, Illinois; Ogallala, Nebraska; Monroe, Wisconsin; Rockford, Illinois; Atkinson, Illinois: Hillsboro, Wisconsin and Geneseo, Illinois before settling in LeRoy about three decades ago. The family grew as seven sons and eight daughters were born through the years.
A journalist for her high school newspaper, she began a professional career in 1963, writing her award-winning “Down Main Street” column for their first newspaper, The Atkinson-Annawan News, along with writing features, covering meetings and helping manage the independent business. The couple also owned and managed weekly newspapers in Orion (Orion Times), Port Byron (Port Byron Globe), Wyanet (Wyanet Eagle) and also had a partnership in Geneseo in owning the Henry County Advertizer with two sons. Eileen also played a major role in the couple’s Hillsboro Sentry-Enterprise newspaper in Hillsboro, Wisconsin, where she wrote stories and helped manage the business. She had the same role when the couple bought the LeRoy Independent in 1992 as well as the Lime Springs Herald. She won several state awards with every newspaper where she worked including in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
She also wrote a book, “The Generous Embezzler,” about Cy Thompson, a wealthy LeRoy area philanthropist who embezzled money that he reinvested in the community. She was asked to speak all over the area about the book, which was a local success.
A major achievement of the couple was the fact many of their 14 living children followed in their career footsteps, from operating printing and newspaper companies to becoming graphic designers.
Through the years, Eileen was also involved in many different civic and community organizations including several Chamber of Commerce organizations, LeRoy Lions Club, LeRoy Senior Citizens, Altar & Rosary Society, called Bingo at LeRoy Summer Fest, helped with countless community festivals and events and more. She was also quite active in her church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church in LeRoy. She was instrumental in starting blood drives in LeRoy, beginning in 1994, and spearheaded blood drives in every community she lived, giving gallons herself as well over the years. The couple was presented an award in January of 1996 by the LeRoy Commercial Club in appreciation for their work in the community. Eileen was named Mower County’s “Outstanding Senior Citizen” at the Mower County Fair They were honored as Grand Marshalls in the LeRoy Summer Fest parade in 2004. In 2001.
Eileen is survived by 14 children including Terry (Mary Kay) of Plymouth, WI; Pat Markor of Columbus, WI; Tim (Luanne) of Moline, IL; Linda (Leo) Smith of Bluffton, SC; Debra (Joe) Welter of Grayslake, IL; Sue Beck of Woodstock, GA; Donna (Tom) Gnidovic of Sugar Grove, IL; Barb (Brian) O'Neill of Bluffton, SC; Dan (Joyce) of LeRoy, MN; Julie (Mark) Hale of Clearwater, FL; Greg (Sue) of Sparta, WI; Natalie of Beaver Dam, WI; Dave (Amy) of Kasson, MN; Matt (Jessie) of Byron, MN, as well as 34 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.
Also surviving are 10 siblings including Leo (Phyllis) of International Falls, Tom Karsnia of International Falls, Peggy (Don) of Coon Rapids, MN, Jim (Paula) of International Falls, Jerry (Martha) of International Falls, Rosie and John Rasmussen of Little Fork, MN, Mike Karsnia of International Falls, Kay (Randy) Dugas of Grand Rapids, MN, Susie (Bob) Wake of Federal Dam, MN and Midge (Dave) Furman of Savage, MN, as well as a brother-in-law, Paul Evans of Bayard, Nebraska.
Preceding her in death was her husband of 62 years, Alfred, infant son, Ronald, and two brothers, Daniel and Jack; three sister-in-laws, Edna Karsnia, LaWanda Bennett and Connie Benker, and two brother-in-laws Virgil Evans and Don Evans.
Memorials are preferred to the LeRoy Senior Citizens to be used to support local blood drives or to the donor's choice.
Hindt Funeral Home in LeRoy is handling the arrangements and online condolences are welcome at www.hindtfuneralhomes.com.