Evelyn M. Keene
-Our mom, grandmother, greatgrandma passed away on February 19, 2023 at the age of 94. She was preceded in death by her husband Orlo. Going through her things after she died, we came across this memoir that she wrote in 2017. The family thought this told the story of her life as well as any. She was one of a kind who leaves us with many fond memories of fun times. Her extended family will gather later this month to memorialize her and she will then be interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery with her beloved Orlo, a Navy veteran in WWII.
My Life Evelyn Mae Earle Keene
I was born March 30th, 1929, the fourth child of Arthur Lenwood Earle and Angie Helen Henning Earle. They had 6 children: Barbara Jean, Richard Wayne, Arthur Lenwood Jr, Evelyn Mae, Lois Margaret, and Carol Lynn. We lived in a house built by our grandfather, Charles Buckalew Earle, and some of his sons. The house is still standing today in Seattle, Washington. My earliest memories of living in that house are relatively hazy. I was a very shy child. I remember my father playing the harmonica and singing folk tunes, inviting playmates to my 5th birthday party because it was the first time I had a party, playing outside, roasting potatoes in a backyard bonfire, telling ghost stories, all things that children of that era did. I was the first of my family, including my mother and father, to graduate high school. My younger sisters followed. While in high school I took courses that would enable me to find jobs as a secretary. I started working on a part time basis when I was 14 years old. The war years allowed me to find work quite easily. My first job was in the hosiery department of a major department store, Frederick & Nelson. My second job was working at Rhodes Five & Dime Store. Both were after school jobs. When I entered high school, I got early dismissal and worked as an usherette at a downtown theater, and later in the ticket booth of a neighborhood theater. The summer I was 15, I worked swing shift in an ice cream packing plant, and once school started, at the neighborhood drug store. The last summer before my senior year I worked on the assembly line for American Can. That was hard!
I met Orlo Addison Keene, Jr. (born May 2, 1925) when I was a senior in high school. I had gone to a dance with a girlfriend and Orlo asked me to dance. Orlo was 22 years old and in his second year at the University of Washington. He was a WWII Navy
Veteran who served on a liberty ship in the South Pacific.
Orlo was born in Valley City, ND. His family moved to Northern Alberta Canada when he was two years old. His family was still living there when Orlo and I met. He went home for the summer to be with his family and work on the Alaska Highway, and I went to work as a stenographer for a small business. When he came back to go to school we dated exclusively. We were married December 29, 1947, in the United Church just off campus. Orlo continued his schooling while we lived in lowincome housing and I started having babies immediately. He worked two part time jobs while still in school and had a truck washing business on weekends. It was hard but we were in love! One of his part time jobs was at a Standard Oil garage parking and lubing cars. When he finished school, Standard Oil hired him for work in the accounting department. He made his career with Standard rising continually until his retirement in 1986. Standard Oil became known as Chevron Oil early on in Orlo’s career with the company. The company transferred us from Seattle to Portland, then to San Francisco, on to Lima, Peru, to New Jersey, and finally back to San Francisco. It was an interesting, exciting life.
We had three sons in four years. Robert Wayne, Bradford Earle, and Terrance Scott. It was like having triplets when they were little, but they were also great playmates and good friends. Robert is the father of one son, Logan, a treasured part of our lives. Bradford and his wife Holly had six children: Nicole, Andrea, Jennifer, Michael, Katherine, and Hollister, all of whom we were very close to. Terrance, our youngest, his two sons, Evan and Gavin, with his wife Patricia, own and operate Artichoke Café, Farina Pizzeria and Farina Alto. Orlo and I had the joy of spending the last 30 years of our lives living in Albuquerque, close to Terry and his family.
The grandchildren range in age from 33 to 47 years old. We were proud greatgrandparents of thirteen, with two more on the way.
In my later years I belonged to a women’s volunteer organization. Orlo and I loved to play bridge and belonged to several bridge groups. We traveled to many parts of the world when we were younger. I was always a busy person with lots of creative interests; Sewing, upholstering, quilting, gardening, cooking, and reading. Most importantly, we loved each other, our family, and always looked forward to tomorrow.