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MARTHA WASHINGTON EVANS
Martha was born on February 22, 1930, in Mantorville, Minnesota, to Wendell & Mayme (Church) Sparrow. She spent her early years in Mantorville and was raised with her older sister, two younger brothers and two younger sisters. When she went to kindergarten, she was relieved to learn her name was not actually her nickname George because G’s were difficult for her to write. The family then spent a short time in Tracy, Minnesota, and then moved to Pipestone, Minnesota, which Martha would consider her home.
Martha and her sisters and brothers were raised predominantly by their beloved “Mum”. Times were hard in those years for many families. While that could have been said of her family, they never felt it because their mother could always make do and as a seamstress, the girls always had the most beautiful prom dresses. With the six siblings only 6-1/2 years apart in age, there was always activity going on at their home. Martha’s wonderful sense of style and making a home beautiful were gifts from her mother.
It was in Pipestone that Martha met the love of her life, (Morris) Tedd Evans Jr. Their first date was after a high school football game – Tedd was the quarterback and Martha was a cheerleader. Martha graduated from Pipestone High School in 1948 and then married Tedd on August 23, 1950.
To Martha and Tedd were born five children. Their first son was born while they were in Pipestone but died shortly after his birth. From there they moved to Minneapolis for Tedd to attend law school, and their son (Morris) Tedd III was born while there. They then moved on to Chicago where Tedd served in the Navy, and their daughter Nancy was born. Then it was back to Minneapolis for Tedd to finish law school, when daughter Katie (Katherine) was born. Finally, they settled in Pipestone and daughter Sara was then born.
Martha stayed home during these years and raised her children with much love. The main life lesson she taught them when they were young was The Golden Rule. She believed everyone deserved and should be shown kindness and respect. Her children’s friends remember grand gatherings at the house as Martha made certain all felt welcome. Making others feel welcome was her special gift.
In 1977 Martha’s beloved Tedd died. It was a love that had burned brightly. Years later her children’s friends would make comments like “some day I want to find a man who will look at me the way your dad looked at your mom, and I want to look back at him the way she looked at him.”
Martha worked a few different jobs during the years following Tedd’s death. She was proudest of her work in the 1980s for Mainstay, for whom she counseled displaced homemakers, and then the business she co-founded after the Mainstay funding ended called P.I.P.E., which was a cottage industry giving displaced homemakers jobs they could do from their homes.
Martha became a grandmother in 1978. She had eight grandchildren over the next 22 years. She was
born to be a grandma and thought each one of them was perfect in every way. She took great joy in spending time baking, golfing, crafting, and playing cards with them. She made each grandchild feel like they had a special connection with her, and each one felt the magnitude of her love.
Martha also had the joy of becoming a great-grandmother. At her death she was Great Nana/GiGi to 10
great grandchildren with one on the way (10 great-granddaughters and 1 great-grandson). Again, she
took to this role with great delight; snuggling them as babies and then continuing the tradition of
crafting with them as they got older.
Martha lived in Pipestone independently until she was 88 when she broke her ankle going to play bridge with her sister and friends in a snow storm. She spent the following two years at Good Samaritan Village in Pipestone as she endured one problem after another with the ankle. Her family rallied in these final years trying to help her regain the independence she so desired, but it was not to be. During this time, she taught her family other important life lessons – about perseverance and always maintaining a positive attitude during times of adversity.
Martha passed away on July 18, 2020, due to complications of Covid-19 at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls.
Martha is survived and will be greatly missed by her children Tedd (Bev) Evans, Brookings, SD, Nancy (Doug) Jackson, Longmont, CO, Katie (Jeff) Wahl, Plymouth, MN, and Sara (Jerry) Priester, Pipestone; her grandchildren Ivory (Jamie) Schwaberow, Paul (Samantha) Jackson, Kelly Evans-Hullinger (Brodie Hullinger), Tracy (Andy) Kardoes, Tyler (Emily) Wahl, Laura Wahl (fiancé Joe Duncan), Jalen Wahl, and Chloe Lear; and her great-grandchildren Emma & Quinn Schwaberow, William, Avery & Amelia Jackson, Teddy & Zoey Hullinger, Kansas, Kollins & Karolina Kardoes, and baby girl Wahl. She is also survived by her sister Val Chester, Pipestone, MN, brother John Sparrow, Prescott, AZ, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Tedd, their infant son, great-granddaughter Kaydence Kardoes, her parents, sisters Nancy Weckerly & Mary Tumbusch, and brother Jim Sparrow.
Memorials may be directed to the First Presbyterian Church in Pipestone.