The Passing of Evelyn Viola Shipley 3/31/1919-3/31/2019 — blog dates February 24 – April 30, 2019

I wrote this in early March:

“Mom (Evelyn Shipley) is apparently on her final descent.  She has been on somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for a number of months, experiencing various mini crises and then rebounding.  Barb flew up to Bismarck in December and spent 10 days or so, helping sister Zona cope”.

When Mom was admitted to hospital In late February with flu that compounded her heart problems and her multiple myeloma, we hoped for another rebound but feared for the worst.  I flew up to Bismarck on February 25/26 to help sister Zona deal with the situation.  Mom was very weak and wanted someone to be with her during all of her waking hours.  

I took these pictures while I was there:

When Mom’s flu and pneumonia had somewhat resolved, her hospital stay had to end.  What should the next step be?  Several months in a rehabilitation facility attempting to regain her strength?  When we asked Mom, she was decisive:  she had had enough.  She wanted to go home and suspend the heroic efforts.  Zona made arrangements for Hospice to render her assistance back at home.  I stayed for a few days longer to assess how that would work out, and then returned to Bonaire on March 8.

Mom passed on March 31, 2019, exactly 100 years to the day from when she was born on March 31, 1919.  

Here is her obituary notice:


Evelyn Viola Shipley, Bismarck, passed away March 31, 2019, on the 100th anniversary of her birth. She passed in the care of Sanford Health Hospice.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck.

She was born in Ryder, March 31, 1919, to parents Thomas Lars Enok Bergh and Torbjorg Hovde. After her mother died, she and her siblings were spread out to extended family and neighbors. She grew up with her grandparents on their farmstead in rural North Dakota with her 13 aunts and uncles, where she lived through the depression. She said they were happy even though they had very little. She was the widow of Wilbur (Bill) Stokes Shipley and together they had children, Zona Gail Shipley Robb and Charles Thomas Shipley.

She graduated from Peever High School in South Dakota and received a teaching degree from Aberdeen State Teachers College. Evelyn taught elementary school for many years in venues ranging from one-room country schools in northeastern South Dakota to urban schools in Romulus, Mich., and in and around Jamestown. She resided in Jamestown for many years before joining her daughter Zona in Bismarck. She and Bill were enthusiastic square dancers and avid campers. Evelyn impressed all who knew her with her warmth and good spirits. She was no shrinking violet; she accompanied her daughter to daily workouts at a gym well into her 90s. Her enthusiastic and animated participation in card games were the stuff of legend. She continued to be an active member of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses right up to her recent illness.

She is survived by her children, Zona and Charles; grandchildren, Susan Robb Tadewald, Cathy Robb Dockter, Erik Robb, Jessica Robb Prudden, Nellie Shipley Sullivan, William Jon Shipley; and great-grandchildren, Madeline and Oliver Tadewald, Sophia and Evan Robb, Cole and Katie Dockter, Lily Prudden and Katie and Jessica Tomlinson.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; siblings, Alvin Marvin Bergh, Alf Bergh, Lloyd Bergh, Joyce Schmidt, Ellen Skramstad; and her granddaughter, Lara Shipley Fairchild.

Evelyn will be remembered as a loving and beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and as an example of a long life well lived.

The family requests any memorial gifts to be sent in care of Sanford Health Systems Hospice.

Go to to share memories of Evelyn and sign the online guest book.


At the funeral on April 20, attended by 142 people, and afterwards at the home of Zona, Barb took a few pictures of some of the guests.

Let’s face it.  Funerals are sad.  Death of a loved one hurts.  We will miss Mom.  But Mom had a full and rewarding life and it was good to see so many people in agreement with the notion that Mom was a remarkable woman.

2 thoughts on “The Passing of Evelyn Viola Shipley 3/31/1919-3/31/2019 — blog dates February 24 – April 30, 2019


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