Evelyn Sisson

Evelyn Sisson, 94 of Sundance, Wyoming, passed away on February 9, 2013, at Crook County Memorial Nursing Home.

Evelyn Marian Swegle was born on December 27, 1918, to Alfred George and Sylvia Sarrah (Hawley) Swegle. She was born in her family’s 14×16 homestead shack located thirteen miles southwest of Moorcroft, Wyoming. Her father had gone to town by saddle horse for the doctor and upon their return Evelyn was two hours old. By the Grace of God, the mid-wife and Evelyn’s mother had no complications.

Evelyn was home schooled until her parents felt that she could make the 3½ mile trip to the Reel-Beaver School safely by herself on horseback. She began fourth grade at the age of nine and graduated from eighth grade when she was thirteen. Her parents could not afford to pay the tuition for high school until the next year. She moved to Moorcroft, at the young age of fourteen and entered high school in 1933. It was there that she and her “future husband’ Merle first met. She worked for her board and room while her folks sold eggs, cream, and raised chickens and turkeys to help pay the tuition. She was a graduate of the class of 1937.

In 1937 the demand for teachers was high. In September of that year, Evelyn entered Normal Training in Gillette, Wyoming. She graduated with her teaching certificate nine months later. She began her teaching career in 1938. She taught at four different schools from 1938-1942. Her teaching began with the River View School near New Haven, Wyoming. Evelyn taught at this school for a short time until the Prairie View School could be relocated further North for a more convenient location to the students. She earned $60 per month to teach five students in five different grades.

During 1939-40 she taught at the Hahn School located on the Pete Svalina ranch near Oshoto, Wyoming, 1940-41 was the Thorne Divide School near Carlile, Wyoming, and her last school was the Green Hill School also in the Carlile area from 1941-42.

In 1942 after having surgery for appendicitis Evelyn’s career took another direction. She was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the nurse who tended to her needs. WWII had created a shortage of nurses. Her boyfriend Merle had been drafted and Evelyn was eager to help in the war effort. She enrolled in a three year nursing program at Sheridan Memorial Hospital, Sheridan, Wyoming. During her studies a program was offered to join the U. S. Cadet Nurse Corps, this was an opportunity for anyone interested in serving their country to aid in the war effort. She became a member of the Corps in 1944. She graduated from Nursing School and received her license in 1945. WWII ended a few months before she was assigned duty.

Evelyn married her high school sweetheart, Merle Sisson on February 16, 1946, in Galesburg, Illinois. They traveled by train back to Moorcroft, and then moved into a little house in the backyard of Merle’s folks in Sundance. They purchased a house next door in 1952, and made Sundance their home. They lived happily together for 60 years, until Merle’s passing in 2006.

While starting a family, Evelyn did private nursing care as well as nursing at Tedrows Nursing Home. She also worked as a clerk part time for the Model Grocery Store, Willies Food Mart and Sundance Pharmacy. She was one of the first nurses to work at the new Crook County Memorial Hospital built in 1960. She waited until Helen Ann began school then worked at this hospital from 1965-1987, and then started working at the nursing home. She was extremely proud of the nursing home and hospital; she understood the needs of the community to have a rural health care system. Just look at her birth, had the doctors skills been needed it would have been too late. Evelyn was forced to retire from active nursing in 1990, due to a back injury she received while helping an aide lift a patient. She did however resume teaching CNA classes after her recovery. She said that made her career come full circle and she was proud to have had that opportunity. She was very grateful and felt rewarded for her time spent teaching and nursing.

Evelyn served the community with enthusiasm. She was a member of the United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Woman, VFW Auxiliary, Give & Gain Homemakers, and Eastern Star. She enjoyed volunteering for many things. She was certified as a Crook County Hospice Volunteer and donated blood at every opportunity. She volunteered at many of the early Health Fairs taking blood pressures and reading the results.

She thoroughly enjoyed life. She loved being a caregiver. She was a remarkable woman who made the choice in life to look up, see the good, and trust in her faith that everything happens for reasons that the human mind cannot always understand or accept. She was forgiving and most of all loving, but yet stern to the proper ways of doing things. No job half done. She will forever be remembered for her big smile and quick wit.

Evelyn is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Merle; and infant daughter, Judy Carol. She is survived by sons, Harry (Kay) Sisson and Dennis (Janice) Sisson, both of Sheridan; daughter, Helen Ann (Dick) Engelhaupt of Sundance; grandsons, Michael Sisson, Jon (Carrie) Sisson, Stephen (Danielle) Sisson; and great-granddaughter, Audrey Sisson all of Sheridan. She proudly shared her life with the Engelhaupt Family.

Visitation will be from 3-6 p.m. on Friday, February 15, 2013, at Fidler-Roberts & Isburg Funeral Chapel in Sundance. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 16, 2013, at the Sundance United Methodist Church with burial following at Green Mountain Cemetery in Sundance. A memorial has been established in Evelyn’s name.

Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Roberts & Isburg Funeral Chapel in Sundance. Online condolences may be written to www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com