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Evelyn Martin Willis 1921-2010

Feb 16, 2010

CHANDLER, AZ –Willis, E. Evelyn Martin, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 at age 88 in Chandler, Arizona.

Evelyn was born in Vermillion, SD, May 13, 1921 to Gust A. and Ethel (Jackson) Carlson. She moved with her family to rural Emmetsburg at age seven where she first attended country school and then graduated from Emmetsburg High School in 1938.

She loved learning and held jobs in Emmetsburg and Waterloo before being introduced to Charles Martin by mutual Junior Farm Bureau friends. They were married Aug. 6, 1944 and moved to Astoria, OR where Charles was serving in the Navy. When WWII ended, they returned to Cherokee to farm and raise a family.

She loved flowers, gardening, sewing, baking and knitting. She resumed working in 1957 at the Cherokee County Courthouse. After Charles’ death, she continued to run the farm as landlord until 2007.

Evelyn was one of the first employees hired by Wilson Packing Plant and helped process all the applicants for hire prior to the plant opening in Cherokee in the late 1960s, continuing as Administrative Assistant to the CEO. Her love of travel was fulfilled after meeting Raymond Willis, the tour guide on her first trip abroad to England in 1974. They were married in 1975 and traveled the world extensively for the next ten years.

Evelyn moved to Arizona in 1986 to be near her daughter and grandchildren. As a member of Scottsdale United Methodist Church she volunteered in many capacities, but was fondly remembered as the “Cookie Lady” for the thousands of cookies she baked for many, many gatherings. Her love of baking and feeding family and friends continued throughout her entire life.

She is survived by daughter Susan Rapp (Terry), Phoenix, AZ and son Robert C. Martin, Tempe, AZ; three grandchildren, Jennifer Standage (Scott) Draper, UT, Sara Rapp and Christopher Rapp (Lisa), Phoenix, AZ. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren, Taylor, Jordyn, J.T., Trevan, Spencer Standage and Teagen Rapp and a nephew, Wayne Carlson and family of Windom, MN.

Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Harold and Raymond Carlson; son, James C. Martin (1951); husband Charles W. Martin (1963); and second husband Raymond Willis (2001).

Contributions in her name may be made to Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix, AZ or The Alzheimer’s Association.

Graveside services in Cherokee, IA will be scheduled at a later date.

Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Indian School Mortuary, Scottsdale, AZ