Evelyn Serene Jermiason, 91, Minot, and formerly of the Watford City area, died Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in a Minot hospital.
Evelyn was born Sept. 2, 1921, to Walker Bradley and Alma Christina (Barsness) O’ Grady, on the family homestead ranch northwest of Watford City. They lived within walking distance of the Little Missouri River and what was to become Lake Sakakawea. She was baptized at Banks Lutheran Church in rural McKenzie County and attended a rural one-room school two miles from her home and graduated from eighth grade at age 12. Evelyn had the distinction of being class valedictorian for all of McKenzie County and gave the class speech for 1934. She graduated from Williston High School at age 16 with honors and worked in the school office for extra credit. She lived on the family ranch with her brother, Lowell, and sister, Lavern, during her high school years. Evelyn attended Minot State Teachers College for two years and attained her K-12 “standard” teaching certificate.
There were many stories handed down in the family from her parents about the difficulties of homesteading in the western part of the state. Evelyn acquired from her 100 percent Irish father her temperament and from her 100 percent Norwegian mother her conservative reserve.
Evelyn started her teaching career in rural Grail School District of McKenzie County for two years. Then she moved to Minot and finished her education with a bachelor’s degree from Minot State Teachers College in 1944, including one summer at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. She continued her teaching career as a physical education teacher and cheerleader coach at Minot High School. Since most of the cheerleaders were of Scandinavian decent, she originated entertaining cheers such as “Lutefisk and lefse, gumaloste supremeve are da Minot basketball team!”
After World War II, Evelyn married Henry Bakken, of rural Minot, and they made their home on a farm in Freedom Township of Ward County south of Minot. She continued teaching at the South Prairie School where she was a “critique” teacher for Minot State Teachers College under Lelia Euwen. She also taught first grade in Velva for one year. She enjoyed teaching the younger grades so much that she declared on numerous occasions, “I can’t believe they were paying me to do that it was such a joy!”
After she married Orlyn Jermiason in December 1956, she lived north of Alexander for a time. Her son, John, was born in January 1958 and along with her mother, Alma, they lived in the Watford City, Tioga and Minot areas managing farms, ranch land and apartments.
Evelyn was a member of the ND Retired Teachers Association, past president of the ND Cowbells (Stockman’s) Association, a member of the Sons of Norway and was an active member of First Lutheran Church in Minot serving as a Circle and Bible study leader. She was a member of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Brethren Church in Minot at the time of her death and greatly enjoyed visits from Pastor Dan Chell.
In 1969 she bought a home in the A-1 flood zone of Minot and enjoyed some spring pumping and boating activities. In 1973 she moved to the Marion Heights condominiums on North Hill. She retired in the mid-1980s after John took over the family farm and rentals. In 2003 she moved to Somerset Court and then due to Alzheimer’s Disease she moved to Emerald Court in Minot. She often voiced her gratitude for the kind service and care the staff at both facilities had given her.
Evelyn’s loving family includes: her son, John (Ann) Jermiason; grandsons, Alan and Matthew; and nephews, Lowell Jr. (Emilia) O’Grady and James (Jean) O’Grady.
Evelyn was preceded in death by: her parents; a baby brother, Edwin; sister, Lavere; and brother, Lowell Sr.
Celebration of the Life of Evelyn Jermiason: Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 1 p.m. in Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Brethren Church, Minot.
Interment will be in the spring in the Banks Lutheran Church Cemetery, rural Watford City.
Visitation: Monday, 2 to 7 p.m., in Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.
Memorials are preferred to Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Brethren Church or the International Artist Series.
Those wishing to sign the online memorial register or share memories are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com).