Remembering Olive Evans
Lauretta Olive May Wilson, was born the youngest child to Joseph & Mary Wilson on June 14, 1932. Some time before she was born, her father, while transporting farm animals, had been in a serious accident when a drunk driver ran into him. He was so seriously injured that he required significant medical care in Toronto for many months. Her oldest brother, Elmer Wilson had to leave school at a young age to keep the farming operation supporting the family. A year after her father returned to the farm, Mom was born. If Grandpa had not survived the accident, Mom would have not been born. This lesson became a powerful demonstration to the family that the recreational and personal use of alcohol could have grave consequences affecting the lives of all family members.
Mom grew up attending Epsom School and the Epsom United (Methodist) Church. No doubt that is where she first was introduced to the Wilfred and Gladys Evans family. She knew them as a musical family. Mom often told of her appreciation for the way Gladys taught and included all of her students in her Sunday School Class. At one point, the oldest son in that family caught her eye and she and Laurence Evans became friends at her young age of around 15. The story is told that the first time Dad called to ask Mom out to Sunday evening service at Goodwood Baptist, Grandpa & Grandma Wilson were away for a few days. Uncle Earl gave his permission with the strict instructions that she not kiss him! From Mom’s comments we believe that those instructions may not have specifically been followed! But then she already knew the process as she had ‘chaperoned’ on some of Earl and Marie’s dates!
Mom and Dad were married on May 26th, 1951…Mom was 19. 2 years later their first son Larry was born, followed over the next 11 years by Joan, Brian, Nancy, Susan, Marg & Mary (twins) and Linda. Her family grew over the years to include 34 Grandchildren, and now 38 Great-Grand children. Since 1951, the total family has reached 113 in number and counting with 5 more soon to arrive! In these last days when Mom was asked by medical staff how many children she had, Mom settled on the number of 16 and would then start to name each one with their spouse. The partners her children had married she not only considered her children but she loved them and sincerely appreciated their love and support. Of course Mom was quite proud and tickled about what she had started. Her family brought her much joy and purpose.
There was a poem found taped in her Bible called My Mission by Ann Washburn Davis.
Lord, I begged, give me a mission, some great work to do for thee;
Lead me to some noble task that men may find Thy love in me.
Even as I prayed, my children crowded round my bended knee.
Why, I wondered, does the Father overlook my urgent plea?
Surely He desires our efforts, poor and humble though they be.
Could it be, in His great wisdom, He’d already answered me?
In my long and fevered searching, I had been too blind to see
What the Father, wise and loving in his plans, would have me be.
Faithful wife and gentle mother…molding lives – MY DESTINY
Even to the very last days, Mom never stopped mothering and molding her family…and many others!
Many aspects of her home and family care were significant. There are several of our friends that will remember the Sunday roast or hamburger dinners with the choice of pies…she usually made a dozen each weekend…most of which were nowhere to be found by Monday! There were the large gardens and preserves on shelves and in freezers. She sewed clothes, knit sweaters and mittens, darned socks and patched pants. Scaring the bear away from our campsite, singing around the fire when some other campers from close by sites would come and ask to join us. So many other wonderful memories are flooding back.
Her destiny as a Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother is well evidenced. Yet she also felt called and inspired to achieve many other ministry goals.
In music, she taught all her children in piano and to develop and appreciate various musical talents. There are the times of family singing around the piano at home and assisting Dad as the family musically joined him in his lay ministry. Before we left on an extended family holiday to the west coast of Canada, Mom specifically told us to be prepared to sing at some Sunday services…no plans just be ready. There was only one Sunday out of 6 that we didn’t sing in a church. Mom helped to start the Messengers Quartet (later Quintet) and the Evans Girls Trio. She loved music and listened to it all the time. When you visited, you would often be asked to stay to watch a southern gospel music video with her. In these last days, she often asked if she could hear ‘her choir’…and of course as we were able in person and by adding others by phone, her family would sing with their harmonies. Mom never learned to swim. She always told us kids that if we ever fell into the pond she wasn’t coming in after us. But…after her family all had learned to swim…Mom decided to take lessons. She was often at the Uxpool with her friends.
She worked at the CIBC in the early years supervised by Irene Doble who remained a close friend. She worked at Oshawa Hospital as an administrator in the X-ray department. Mom and Dad had a Christian Bookstore on Brock Street in Uxbridge and of course with Dad founded Evans Financial Services, a business that has just reached their 53rd anniversary. As computers became an efficient tool for businesses, Mom enrolled in a course that would teach her how to build a DOS program to manage client assets for Evans Financial Services; a program that was used for many years thereafter. She prepared income tax returns for several senior clients who needed some help. Until more recent years she kept up to every advancing technology like facebook, messenger, texting and cell phones. We all have a library of videos that Mom took of family events over the years.
Mom had a heart to minister for her Lord and Saviour and influence others for Jesus Christ. She and Dad worked with Youth for Christ locally. She mentored many girls through the Pioneer Girls program at Uxbridge Baptist Church and encouraged this ministry in other churches. Many have told us that one of their remembrances of Mom was of her encouragement to them in their faith through this program. Mom assisted Dad in his lay pastoral ministry and worked alongside him to help start a new church ministry in Newmarket. In later years she supported Dad in his leadership at the Baptist Convention of Ontario & Quebec. Mom took on her own leadership roles at Canadian Baptist Ministries and was part of a trip to India and Indonesia. She worked with the local Red Cross Branch, was the secretary for the Uxbridge Branch of the Canadian Bible Society. Mom and Dad were members of the local branch of The Gideons. She helped to initiate the first work to develop a Hospice in the area and the health networks which are now known as the CELHIN. Just a couple of years ago, Mom was able to fulfill a lifelong desire to travel to Israel and visit the places where Jesus had walked and lived.
Mom took an interest in writing and took some training to improve her skill. She began to prepare devotionals and several were published in devotionals and magazines. She became a writer and editor for the Canadian Baptist. When Aunt Annie Yeo died, she with her sister Ruby wrote and published her biography, ‘Annie Yeo – A Life of Service’. Later she was inspired to study the book of Revelations. Upon completion of this study she wrote and published with Dad’s review and help, a daily devotional book entitled, ‘Jesus Revealed’.
However, the example that will stay with us all is the consistent and vibrant faith which guided Mom right to her graduation last Tuesday. She knew that she was forgetting things but refused to forget about her Lord.
When reading scripture with her you could stop part way through a passage knowing that she would finish it. When singing favourite hymns she would sing all the words. In the last days in her hospital bed, she would all of a sudden reach up towards the sky and exclaim “Thank you, Jesus, Praise you Lord”. What would follow would be one side of a conversation with Jesus! She was talking with Him…and we could only hear her side. Mom’s faith was real, her hope was sure and on October 16, 2018 at around 12:45 PM, there is no question in our minds that as ‘her choir’ sang Amazing Grace one last time in the room, her Saviour wrapped His loving arms around Mom and took her to her real home!
Thank you Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Sister and Friend! We love you! Yes, we had our breakfast this morning! Watch for us…we will all be along soon!
A Poem Mom left for us….
I counted dollars while God counted crosses,
I counted gains while He counted losses!
I counted my worth by things gained in store
But He sized me up by the scars I bore,
I coveted honours and sought for degrees:
He wept as He counted the hours on my knees,
And I never knew ‘till one day by a grave-
How vain are those things that we spend life to save!