Evelyn Marie was born on May 25, 1939 in the Swedish community of Gowrie, Iowa to farmer Clemens Hade and his wife, Esther. She was the youngest of four children and the only daughter. When Evelyn was a teenager she lost her mother, and her extended family stepped in to help raise her. She graduated from Gowrie High School in 1957. With the help of her beloved Aunt Ruth, she pursued higher education. Evelyn received an undergraduate degree in education from Luther Junior College and the University of Northern Iowa (then Iowa State Teachers College), and earned Master's degrees in communication and history from UNI and Creighton University.
Her first teaching position was at Wooster College in Wooster, Ohio. After this one-year stint, her friendship with Dorothy and Erik Hansen brought her to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Evelyn had met Dorothy when she worked at a Bible camp during college and they maintained close ties. Erik managed a golf course in town, which is where he introduced Evelyn to his friend Virgil Whitehill. On October 14, 1972, they were married at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska.
At the start of married life, Evelyn balanced teaching positions for multiple schools, including Benson High School, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and College of Saint Mary (where she ultimately taught speech for twenty-five years). The Whitehills welcomed children Erik and Dottie--named for the Hansens--in 1974 and 1976. In the hills south of Council Bluffs they built a home, which Evelyn called "Larksong." Both of her children grew up to be educators, and she adored her granddaughters Claire and Emily.
Throughout her entire life, Evelyn's passion was reading. She consumed thousands of titles (approximately one a week), but was particularly fond of mysteries. She also loved to travel. Beginning when her children were very young, she took them on trips to locations around the country. Her favorite spots were national parks and anywhere with spectacular views of mountains. One favorite destination that brought her love of reading and scenery together was Prince Edward Island, Canada. This journey was inspired by her family's enthusiasm for the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery. Trips to PEI were among her most treasured memories.
In addition to these hobbies, she also supported the arts, charities, the Omaha Public Library, and her church. It was Evelyn's wish that any memorials go to First Unitarian Church of Omaha.
Evelyn is survived by her brother Richard Hade; son, Erik Whitehill; daughter, Dottie (Whitehill) Bossman; son-in-law, David Bossman; and grandchildren, Claire and Emily Bossman. She was preceded in death by her husband, Virgil; parents Esther (Swanson) Hade and Clemens Hade; and her brothers, Arnold, Vincent, and Everett Hade. The funeral will be held at First Unitarian Church of Omaha on November 11 at 6:30 PM.