On November 14th the heavens opened up to greet their newest angel, Eyvanna Beth Van Auken Connole. She was greeted by all her loved ones that have gone before her, especially her beloved Whitey. Mom's 94 year earthly journey started February 10, 1922 in Williams MT, the fourth daughter born to Hal and Abbie Van Auken. Three more daughters and one son joined the family over the next few years. At the age of 3, mom came down with meningitis. She recovered but had to learn to walk and talk again and lost the hearing in her left ear. She was a very shy and quiet child always watching and listening to her 7 siblings. The family eventually moved to Choteau where she graduated from high school and met the man of her dreams, Warren (Whitey) Connole.They were married on September 28, 1941. Dad and mom started their family right away with Jim joining the family in 1942, John in 1944, Betty in 1948 and finally Judy in 1954.
While dad was farming, mom would be found sewing or upholstering furniture for others to help out financially. They both drove public school bus over the years shuttling many of Choteau's children every day. As her children grew, her yearly job was making cheerleading uniforms for Betty and Judy and many of the other cheerleaders. She never said no to anyone that needed her. Being surrounded by beautiful, pretty things was evident by the many flowers she planted each year and the garden mom nurtured. Eyvanna didn't need a big house or lots of possesions to be happy. The most cherished and treasured thing to her was her family. Dad's family was also truly part of her. The amount of time spent dancing, playing cards, dinners and tons of laughter is a legacy we all can look back on with smiles on our faces. The value of family has been passed on to her children, a true gift not to be taken lightly.
On December 27, 1967, our lives were devasted by dad's untimely death at the age of 47. Mom was everyone's rock but her life changed forever. Needing to find employment, she went to work for Rex's grocery. Shortly thereafter, she started her new career at the Montana Power Company which would span the next 18 years. Mom loved her years at MPC but with computer technology coming soon, she was ready to retire.
On October 19, 1973 Eyvanna married John Burt of Choteau. John and Evyanna spent the many years going to the cabin outside of Augusta, gardening and traveling to see family and friends. John passed away in 1991.
There was nothing more important to her than being surrounded by family. She was always there for us, in good times and in bad. But her eyes lit up the most over her 13 grandchildren and the following great and then great-great grandchildren. She was the ultimate grammy and gramma. This woman loved to cook, read, watch baseball, play the piano and dance. We are still singing the songs she would sing to all of us.
Eyvanna is preceeded in death by Whitey, John Burt, her beloved daugher-in-law Janet Connole, parents, sisters Verna (Pete) Huidekoper, Doris (Harry) Jardine, Avis (Glen) Inbody, Evelyn (Vic) Hoxsey, Haydn Hertlein, as well as many of the Connole family.
She is survived by her children: Jim and Judy Connole, John Connole, Betty and Mike Charlton, Judy and Jay Kohn, her awesome grandchildren, Pam (Kelly) Hanna, Scott Connole, Kevin (Marika) Connole, Tracy Connole, Steve(Raylynne) Connole, Russ (Tanya) Connole, Kelly (Trianne) Connole, Brett (April) Charlton, Chris (Angie) Chartlon, Heather (Lorenzo)Snyder, Melanie Connole (Chad Flynn), Jeff (Beth) Kohn, and Andy (Lisa) Kohn; brother Milton (Theresa) Van Auken, sister Jean DeRusha and brother-in-law Wally Hertlein; so many great and great-great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
There was no one more kind, sweet, gentle and most of all loving than Eyvanna. Everyone that met her got a heart felt hug and came away with the feeling they had a new friend. Our hearts are hurting with her passing but are so happy to have an additional guardian angel looking over us. We are so grateful to have been blessed with you as our mom, grandma, aunt and friend. You are now free from the dementia that has been part of your life for several years. You lived her catholic faith and are now in the comfort of your heavenly family. We love you!!!!
If you wish to make a donation in her name, please do so at the Alzheimers Association or St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Choteau.
Condolences may be left on-line at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com