Harold Odean “Whitey” Evenhus
February 24, 1927 ~ April 12, 2014
Harold “Whitey” Evenhus, 87, a longtime Rock Island, WA resident and former Mayor, passed away on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at Blossom Valley Assisted Living in Wenatchee. He was born on February 24, 1927, the eldest of eight in Fargo, ND to the late Casper and Olaug (Holl) Evenhus. He was raised on a farm and educated in the small towns of Benson County, North Dakota. In January 1948, he married Jane Spidahl in Fargo, ND, making their first home in Devils Lake, ND. Together they raised four children, Stan, Sherman, Sharon and Stewart. The family moved to Rock Island in 1953, where he worked briefly in the fruit packing sheds, before finding work as a truck driver. He joined the Teamsters Union and spent the next 48 years working in the asphalt and trucking industry. He worked on the construction of most of the area dams and later owned and operated his own company, “Whitey’s Trucking Company and Pilot Service”, retiring in 2001. Whitey successfully ran for Rock Island Council in 1976, and was appointed Mayor one year later. He served with distinction for 34 years as Mayor and as Councilman. He was a longtime member of the Eastmont Presbyterian Church in East Wenatchee and sat on the church council. He was installed as an Elder in 1990, and then as a Deacon in 1995.
Whitey always loved sports, especially baseball. As a young man, he left the farm to pursue his dream of pitching in the majors, but settled for pitching in the farm leagues. He continued his love of baseball, helping to organize Little League in the Greater Wenatchee area. He was a coach, team manager and umpire in Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion, taking many of his teams to state and regional playoffs. Later, he participated “loudly” from the stands, proudly watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren compete in whatever sport they were playing. He was an avid fan of Eastmont girls basketball and, until recently, was a constant presence at the games. Whitey loved life and all the wonder and adventures it held. He liked to travel and every person he met, or each trip he took, he would have a story or two to tell when he returned. Friends and colleagues called him a “straight shooter,” because you always knew where you stood with him, good or bad. He was a complex man, who lived a simple life and was blessed with the “gift of gab”. He was one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Whitey is survived by three children, Stan (Jennifer) Evenhus of East Wenatchee, Sherman (Laurie) Evenhus of Rock Island, and Sharon (Stuart) McDougall of Wenatchee; three sisters, Grace (Don) Cote of Nordlund, WA, Dallas (John ) Burke of Salem, OR, and Gloria Ferris of Salem, OR; four brothers, Donald (Alice) Evenhus of Wenatchee, Melford (Phyllis) Evenhus of Salem, OR, Gordon (Lillian) Evenhus of Aloha, OR, and David (Nancy) Evenhus of Woodburn, OR; six grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Stewart Evenhus; and his grandson, Derek Evenhus.
His family extends a “Very Special Thank you” to the staff at Blossom Valley Assisted Living for the compassion, dignity and love that you showed Whitey during his short stay.
A Celebration of Whitey’s Life will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at the Free Methodist Church, 1601 Fifth Street, Wenatchee, with Pastor Jim Deal officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial donations be made in Harold’s name to the Eastmont Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are in the care of Heritage Memorial Chapel, East Wenatchee.