Gwendolyn "Gwen" Louise Evans, 58, of Topeka died February 28, 2018 at her home.
Ms. Evans was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri on July 11, 1959, the daughter of Robert E. Evans and Eleanor Celeste Dowd Evans. When she was three years old her family moved from St. Joseph to Lee's Summit, Missouri and then to Topeka, Kansas when she was six. She briefly lived in California for one year during high school, a couple years in Kentucky during one of her marriages but mostly lived her life in Kansas. She attended both Catholic and Public schools and graduated from Topeka High School in 1977. Post high school she earned her CNA/CMA certificate. She eventually went on to achieve a Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in English from Washburn University in 2001.
Gwen always marched to the beat of her own drum and had a full life. She was a member of the Gay Pride Movement, and though she wasn't a regular church attendee, her spiritual beliefs were very dear to her. She cared deeply for others, and had an open and generous heart. She always tried to make people feel welcome and would try to help others even if it was a hardship for herself.
She loved children and dreamed of being a mother. Though she never had a child of her own she was a foster mother and loved being able to care for her foster son. She also enjoyed playing with her nieces, nephews and her friends’ children. She would make it fun for any child around her by doing things such as crafts, playing games, hunting Easter eggs, or surprising them with a toy.
She also loved animals, especially cats. Her "fur babies" were very important to her and she always had a cat or two when possible. Just like people she could never say no to a cat in need.
Gwen was very creative and had many hobbies. Besides doing the 1000 piece puzzles, crosswords and Sudoku, she also loved to sew, crochet and knit, often making gifts for her friends and family. She loved to be in the kitchen making all kinds of desserts, cookies, candies and meals. Anything she made turned out great. She recently took up researching her family ancestry and enjoyed learning about their lives. But her favorite hobby was music; singing, playing her guitar and listening to music. She was self-taught and began playing and singing at an early age. Gwen and her two sisters would often sing and entertain for her family and the residents of nursing homes. In high school, she won several awards at singing competitions. As an adult, she continued to sing and play publicly as well as meeting up with friends to sing and play together for enjoyment.
She held many occupations throughout her life. The most unusual one was when she joined a traveling circus that took her to several cities around the country. She also held multiple positions in retail sales, was a bakery manager and cake decorator, a confectioner, a waitress, did tax preparations, was a certified nurse’s aide, a social worker for the state of Kansas, and was the daycare provider for her great nephew Brendan for 6 years. She was eventually forced to retire from the work force about 10 years ago due to poor health.
Gwen is preceded in death by her parents; Robert E. Evans and Eleanor Celeste Dowd Evans, a brother; Robert E. Evans II, a sister; Celeste M. Davidson, and a nephew; Alex M. Evans.
Gwen is survived by her sister Margaret "Maggie" (Jim) Ziegler of Topeka, Kansas. Three nieces; Celeste Davidson of Topeka, Kansas, Dana (Logan) Carpenter of Lawrence, Kansas, and Renee Ziegler of Cincinnati, Ohio. Three nephews; Walter (Rebecca) Evans of Palestine, Texas, Jason (Bailey) Ziegler of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and John (Desi) Davidson II of Trinidad, Colorado. Five great nephews, five great nieces, and a sister-in-law Lori (Robert) Evans of North Platte, Nebraska.
A celebration of her life will be Saturday, March 17, 2018 at the Dove Southeast Chapel located at 2843 S.E. Minnesota Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66605. Visitation will begin at 3:00 p.m. followed by a memorial from 4:00 - 4:30 pm. A private inurnment will be at a later date at the West Lawn Memorial Gardens.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Cat Association of Topeka located at 1719 S.W. Gage Boulevard, Topeka, Kansas 66604 or the Helping Hands Humane Society located at 5720 SW 21st Street, Topeka, Kansas 66604.
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