Obituary of Dona Lou Evans
Dona Lou Evans, age 89, passed away peacefully in her home, with the love of family surrounding her on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. She was born in Denver, CO, March 23, 1933, to Stanley and Kathleen Benedict. Dona graduated from Denver South High School where she met the love of her life, Kenny Evans, in algebra class! They married on June 25, 1949, and recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. Together, Dona and Kenny raised four children, Christie, Doug, Debra, and Jennifer. They were devoted partners, champions of each other and their family. Dona and Kenny’s love and long life together inspired countless romances and joyous marriages for both family and friends; their lifelong motto reads: “Family, All Because Two People Fell in Love.”
Dona earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Reading from the University of Northern Colorado. Dona taught first grade in Greeley District 6 public schools over 20 years. She loved her students, she loved teaching them to read, she encouraged children to be friends and to learn to get along together both in the classroom and on the playground. Dedicated to teaching reading, Dona loved working with preschoolers in their homes to develop reading readiness skills through a Title 1 program for several years. As teenagers and adults, many former students would see her out in the community and express to her their love of first grade. She always asked them their name and to tell her a bit about themselves because, of course, they had changed from a child to an adult! She always laughed and listened.
Dona loved the Colorado mountains where from childhood she hiked, picnicked, fished, camped, and skied. As Dona and Kenny started a family, their love of outdoor activities was passed on to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! Skiing was one of Dona’s favorites. With an oxygen tank on her back and with great determination, she continued to ski with Kenny even into her early 80s! In their mountain home in Blue River, Colorado, they enjoyed being with friends and family, to share meals, to laugh and tell stories. In summer, they loved to fly-fish, camp outdoors, build a campfire and roast marshmallows. In winter, Dona and family would snowshoe into the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree!
Dona dedicated her life to loving, supporting, and caring for her family. She attended thousands of classical music concerts for her husband, Kenny, and their children who were all musicians. Dona was the backbone behind the scenes when, together with her husband, Kenny, they founded the Breckenridge Music Institute: “Bach, Beethoven and Breckenridge” in the 1980s. Dona’s support of this grand endeavor found her organizing the music camp, planning the activities of the children’s concert, and chauffeuring guest artists from the airport to Breckenridge. There really wasn’t anything Dona didn’t do to make this annual festival such a success, except actually play an instrument herself. Her applause and the after-concert reception parties she hosted were renowned for being, “Simply the best!”
Dona’s love of entertaining and nurturing others was often found in the kitchen. Her grandchildren, young or old, clamored for her breakfast feasts of perfect bacon, sausage gravy, strawberry pancakes, cinnamon coffeecake, and freshly caught trout fried in cornmeal. “Grammy” was, indeed a morning person! And yet, in the evenings she always made popcorn, hot chocolate, hot toddies and served big bowls of ice cream, heaped with chocolate and caramel sauce while the family played cards and board games. She loved to feed people; it was an expression of her love. Dona always made sure to have plenty of candy bars for everyone’s pockets when the family skied together.
In retirement Dona and Kenny split their time living between Breckenridge and Greeley, attending Father Dyer Methodist Church in Breckenridge. Dona was an active member of Summit County’s PEO chapter, sharing her energies, talents, time and her love with her PEO sisters. Dona and Kenny travelled extensively, especially to go fly-fishing all over the world, including four continents. They enjoyed concerts in Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg, visiting the south of France with family and friends, and annual trips with family to Mexico. Both their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries were celebrated with all their children and grandchildren for a week of camping, fly-fishing, hiking, biking and white-water rafting in Colorado’s Collegiate Range. An avid baseball fan, Dona loved to go to her grandsons’ many ballgames and to Coors Field to cheer on the Rockies with family and friends.
Dona’s smile and laughter, her sassy jokes and sense of humor, and her generous love of the people in her life will be dearly missed by her surviving family – so many nieces and nephews, on both the Benedict and Evans sides of her family, and especially her immediate family: her husband, Kenny, the love of her life, her children, Christie (Michael) Malnati, Douglas Evans, Debra (Kent) Torke, Jennifer Evans (Jonathan Postal), her nine grandchildren, Sara Malnati, Adam (Jennifer) Malnati, Nathan (Elizabeth) Malnati, Cassidy Evans, Brittany (Randy Archer) Torke, Alex (Allie) Torke, Carly, Jackson and Calvin Postal. Dona was also blessed with nine great-grandchildren, Antaya and Anthony Malnati; Eliana and Michael Malnati; Jordan Archer; Avery, Lilly, Haddie Mae, and Sawyer Torke. Dona is preceded in death by her loving parents, Stanley and Kathleen Benedict and all five of her dear older siblings, Peggy, Buddy, Boone, Frank, and Chee Chee, as well as her adoring parents-in-law, Perry and Ethel Evans, sisters and brothers-in-law, Josephine, Irene, Bonnie Bell, Donald, Louise, Mary Jane, Harold, and Shirley. Dona Lou lived with her arms wide open to all, generous and loving; she adored all her family and they adored her as well. We will never get over her loss or stop carrying her in our hearts.
Celebration of Life services will be held, Tuesday, July 19, at 10:00 a.m. in Windsor, Colorado at the First United Methodist Church, 503 Walnut Street. Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Windsor Lakeview Cemetery with reception for friends and family to follow at the Windsor, United Methodist Church at Noon. Memorial contributions may be made to the School District 6 Success Foundation in Dona Evans memory. www.d6successfoundation.org/donaevansTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dona Evans, please visit Tribute Store