Evelyn Ruth Curtis passed away peacefully on January 14, 2020 in Waco, TX. Visitation will be 6 to 8 P.M Friday, January 17, 2020, chapel of Grace Gardens Funeral Home. The funeral services celebrating the life of Evelyn Curtis will be 10:00 A.M. Saturday Jan. 18, 2020, at Grace Gardens Funeral Home Chapel, 8220 Woodway Drive. Interment will follow in Waco Memorial Park.
She was the only child born in Waco to George Frank Anderson and Tolly Natalee (Kroll) Anderson. At the age of 16 Evelyn began her work in the grocery business working for her future father-in-law at the Safeway store on 17th and Speight. When World War II ended and the sons of the manager of the store returned home in 1946, one of them, Walter Elmer Curtis, Jr. decided that he had met the woman of his dreams and after 3 weeks of knowing each other, they were married. Since Safeway did not allow spouses to work together, Evelyn found herself working at another grocery store for a short period of time. She became pregnant with their first child while her husband finished his degree at Baylor and worked at Safeway. That child, Patricia Ann, was born with spina bifida and lived only for 20 months. During that time her husband had gone to work for Montgomery Wards and he was working in Fort Worth TX when their second daughter, Carol Sue, was born in 1951. Elmer soon went back to Safeway where he quickly rose to the level of store manager and Evelyn was a stay-at-home mom while her husband had them moving all over the state to open Safeway stores. In 1954 they were living in Waxahachie where a son, John Howard, was born and then while in Austin in 1956, their third daughter, Martha Jean, was born. After a couple of store manager jobs in Austin and Bryan, Elmer decided to join his dad back in Waco and help run the Milky Way food store chain. Evelyn also at that time was ready to rejoin the work force, so she too, began working with the Milky Way stores. In 1972 Elmer and Evelyn decided it was time to branch out and try owning their own convenience stores and opened one Mr. C’s food store on the corner of Bagby and Richter and the other on Highway 77. Later, they sold the store on Hwy 77 and concentrated all of their efforts on the one store. That Mr. C’s was popular in the neighborhood and Evelyn enjoyed interacting with all of the customers watching the younger children grow up to be successful adults. In 1981 Elmer passed away during open heart surgery and Evelyn was left to run Mr. C’s by herself. After several years she finally sold the store and decided to take a little time off but that was not in her nature to be at home doing nothing so she worked for a couple of grocery stores in the area before finding her true home at HEB in 1991. At the age of 64 she started working at the Woodway HEB and worked there until her retirement on November 25, 2019. HEB became her second family – in fact, her son, John often said, he thought at times they ranked higher in her life than her immediate family. While at HEB she won several awards such as Employee of the month and of the year at the Woodway store. One time she actually came in 2nd in a bagging contest where she competed with other baggers around the area who were young enough to be her grandchildren. The saddest day of her working life was the day she “retired” from HEB – she told her children many times she had never quit anything in her life and retirement felt like quitting to her. But her failing health was not allowing her to continue working.
Evelyn was a very involved mother to her three children – there was no event at school that she and Elmer did not attend or become actively involved in as parents. She was at every sporting event even attending every basketball game that Carol played at Baylor back when to play for the Lady Bears was more of a club team than the national champions they are today. And then, there were her Dallas Cowboys. Evelyn supported them from the time they were franchised through the good years and the bad. You did not call her or talk to her if her Cowboys were playing.
Evelyn is survived by her 3 children, Carol Peterson and husband Fred, from Pflugerville, TX, son John and his wife, Yvonne, from Whitney, TX, and Martha and her husband, Randy, from Pflugerville, TX. She is also survived by two brothers-in-law, John E. Curtis and his wife, Frances from Houston, and Thomas H. Curtis and his wife, Carla, from Tyler, TX. She has four grandchildren, Anthony Curtis from Waco, Brian Peterson Ricter and his wife Kate from Austin, Meagan Glasgow of Fort Worth and Cade Glasgow of Houston. She is also survived by two step grandchildren, Jason Johnson and John Jacob Johnson.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her daughter.
Honorary Pallbearers for Evelyn will be all of the employees, both past and present at the Woodway HEB.
A special note of thanks goes out to the wonderful people at Providence Hospital, the staff at St. Anthony’s Care Center and especially the very special people at Providence Hospice during her final days.
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