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Vernice Evans 11/20/2022

Vernice Mae Evans, age 101 and ¾ of New Richmond passed away on Sunday, November 20, 2022, ultimately succumbing to pneumonia, at St. Croix Health Center. She was born on February 20, 1921, on the family farm near Paynesville, Minnesota. She was the daughter of Charles and Freda Heitke and grew up with her sister Lois, brother Frederick (Bud) and twins Mary and Jimmy Heitke. After graduating from high school at age 16, she became a dental assistant which was also her job in California during WW II before her husband Klayton was shipped off to England where he and his regiment survived their landing on Normandy Beach the second day of D-Day. After the war she and her husband Klayt moved to New Richmond where they owned and operated Evans Shell and Oldsmobile while she did the bookkeeping and they raised their daughters Barbi and Kay. After such interesting jobs as selling make-up and taking the 1960 census for New Richmond, she began more than 34 years of Sales and Marketing for Doughboy Industries, Inc. This was followed by almost 25 years as receptionist, proofreader, columnist and assistant to the editor at The New Richmond News. She loved having a ring-side seat for parades and happenings right on main street of her favorite city in the whole world. She knew how to use the latest iPhone, iPad and computer and even attended Zoom meetings with her family and friends. She was always active with her bridge clubs, golf league and loved singing in her church choir for over 60 years. As a two-time survivor of cancer, she participated in many walkathons and fundraising events. Vernice is the founder of a yearly golf tournament in Paynesville, MN called The Heitke Open. She has traveled the world to Europe, Asia, Japan (3 trips) and celebrated her birthday in Hawaii more than 25 times. A lifelong golfer, she relished having been on the winning hometown ladies league team and had even played the famous St. Andrews course in Scotland way back when she was in her 60s.
Vernice is preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Freda Heitke; husband, Klayton Evans; sisters, Lois Krupke and Mary Schmitt; brothers, Frederick and James Heitke. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Marge Hartmann; children, Kay (Jim) Brennan and Barbara Evans. She is also survived by grandchild, Kristin (Michael) Pursell; great-grandsons, Henry and Franklin Pursell. (Kristin was just elected to the House of Representatives for the state of Minnesota.) Also surviving are her many nieces and nephews. She had a special relationship with nieces and travel companions Kris and Penny Schmitt. “Adopted” grandchildren Megan, Joe and Ben Needham plus Carolyn Tibbets lovingly called her “Grandma Vernice.” She cherished her family and friends who visited her home or wherever she was recuperating and brought treats of food and love. But she held a special place in her heart for a wonderful neighbor and friend of many years Julie, and her late husband Mike Walsh.
The family would like to thank the staff of St. Croix Health Center, Touching Hearts care givers, Hospice Lakeview and her many friends and visitors for the care and love she received in these past few months. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to First Lutheran Church or Five Loaves, (44 West Third Street, Suite D, New Richmond) or to a charity of your choice.
A memorial service was held on Wednesday, November 30th, at 1:00 p.m. at First Lutheran Church (218 County Road K) in New Richmond. Visitation was at the church beginning at noon. Interment was private. A Celebration of Life will be announced for a later date in the spring. The service was live streamed via the link below. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.

Click here to watch the recording of Vernice’s service.


  • Leanne Brown Posted November 23, 2022 9:21 am

    A life well lived! I have always liked and admired her. My sympathy to you. God bless you all

  • Stafford entendencia Posted November 24, 2022 6:05 pm

    RIP. She loved life to the fullest, with love, heart, and spunk. I adored her so much, will miss her. Me ke aloha

  • Kim Kimmy Posted November 26, 2022 6:41 am

    What an interesting and well lived life. I was blessed to have met her several times. Our sympathies to Kay,Jim, Barbi, Kristin, and all of her loved ones.

  • Chris Mavetz Posted November 29, 2022 10:32 am

    RIP to my Great Aunt Vernice.

    She was one of a kind and will be missed. I always looked forward to seeing her whenever I could. Never a dull moment around Vernice, she was truly a joy to be around ❤️ If can still play golf into my 90s AND can celebrate my birthday in Hawaii a handful of times like she did, I will know I have lived a great life.

    Condolences and blessings to Barbi, Kay, Jim, Kristin, and the rest of the family…

  • Sharon I. Gingras Posted November 30, 2022 7:32 am

    What a life she led! So many talents. Our sincere sympathy to Kay, Jim, Barb and Kristin. J.Henry and Sharon

  • Spencer J Reppe Posted November 30, 2022 10:21 am

    She lived enough for two lifetimes. She will be remembered by many.

  • Jeff Holmquist Posted December 16, 2022 4:00 pm

    Working alongside the full-of-life Vernice for nine years, I just assumed she would never die. This news comes as a shock, to be sure. Her job at the New Richmond News was tailor-made for Vernice. She loved interacting with customers — young and old — who stopped by to conduct business. And she was the perfect first-line-of-defense to calm down anyone who was angry or annoyed. From her chair just steps from Main Street, Vernice kept watch over all the comings and goings in town. She will definitely be missed by the community which she adored! Well done, Vernice, on a life well lived!

  • Bev Rodriguez Posted May 11, 2023 4:00 pm

    I just found out she passed away. I had the privilege of working with Vernice for about 4 years at New Richmond News. She turned 90 during that time. Even now, whenever i mention her name, my husband automatically says, “Vernice the furnace” because she had so much fire left in her. She didn’t believe in getting old. Quite a woman! I was blessed to know her.

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