Ann Harbert Evensen passed from this world on Valentine’s Day 2020. She died in Bend, Oregon, in the house she designed and loved, after driving herself to a lovely dinner with friends, the simplest and most fierce declaration of independence. She was 79 years old.
Ann is survived by her daughters Kirsten (Brent Kahmann) Evensen, Portland, Oregon; Meredith (Patrick Lynch) Evensen-Lynch, Sandpoint, Idaho; Ashley (John Brunzell) Evensen, Vancouver, Washington; granddaughters Emilia Lynch, Sandpoint, Idaho; Olivia Lynch, Sandpoint, Idaho; Wren Brunzell, Vancouver, Washington; sisters Mary (Gene) Elzy, Reynolds at Lake Oconee, Georgia; Pat Gilbert, Portland, Oregon. She is preceded in death by her husband Emil Evensen; parents Lucille and Cecil Harbert; brother Robert Harbert.
Ann was born October 11, 1940 to Lucille (Tomlinson) Harbert and Cecil Lloyd Harbert in Hood River, Oregon. She lived most of her early life in Estacada, Oregon, graduating from Estacada High School in 1958. She graduated from the University of Oregon (!?!) Nursing School located on the OHSU campus in Portland in 1963.
She married her husband Emil, March 17, 1962, after meeting him on the Oregon State campus, where he attended pharmacy school. They moved to Bend in 1969, where they found the perfect small town in which to raise their growing family. They dedicated their lives to creating rich family experiences and robust community service.
Ann had a long career as an operating room nurse at St. Charles Medical Center. Her nursing career culminated in three service missions with Rotaplast International where she visited Venezuela, Vietnam, and Guatemala performing cleft lip and palate repairs. She returned from these missions overflowing with the stories of changed lives and described them as “the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”
Ann did not suffer fools, and so surrounded herself with intelligent and interesting people, especially those in her American Association of University Women (AAUW) sisterhood. She was passionate about education and literacy for all, but especially for girls. This dedication fueled her 50 year commitment to local, state and national AAUW causes. The bonds with these women, formed of advocacy and leadership, were some of the most meaningful and lasting friendships Ann had.
Her years of service also included serving as a Bend/LaPine School Board Member, Deschutes County Library Board Member, State of Oregon Library Board Member, Red Cross volunteer, and Oceanic Society research volunteer. She was a long-time member of the Archaeological Society of Central Oregon (ASCO) , Genealogical Society, and the High Desert Museum.
Ann instilled in her family a deep curiosity about the world, a love of wild and beautiful places, a heart for adventure, a sense of justice, and the inability to allow a grammatical error to go unchecked. Her friends describe her as fiercely independent, principled, funny, kind, and a master storyteller.
The joy of her life was being with her family, especially her three granddaughters: celebrating their gifts and accomplishments on the soccer field, in the classroom, and on the stage. A great day in the life of Grandma Ann would be sitting on the shore of a mountain lake, reading a book, while her girls played for hours in the water. Evening would bring a boat ride across the water for dinner overlooking the lake and mountains.
She loved being in water anywhere, whether plunging into a 50-degree Cascade mountain lake (she carried a thermometer, of course), snorkeling in 80-degree Caribbean waters, floating a Western River or watching the sunrise in her hot tub overlooking the Eastern Oregon desert.
Ann was a lifelong fan of Oregon State Beaver football and women’s basketball, and a 49er Faithful for life. Her love of the game kept her close to her family, ritually exchanging text commentary during games. The last party she hosted was a Super Bowl party for her beloved 49ers just 12 days before her passing.
Ann was an intrepid global traveler. After many fulfilling trips with her husband, Emil, her first solo trip after he passed was a cross-country sojourn in her travel-trailer. She followed the Oregon Trail that brought her family West, researching her genealogy along the way and attending the national AAUW convention in St. Louis, Missouri. All of her travels were guided by a deep curiosity and sense of service. She was inquisitive about people and their diverse stories and returned from any trip with fond memories of those she met along the way. We struggle to summarize a life as expansive as Ann Evensen’s. Her legacy is indomitable and will live on in the hearts of those she touched and loved.
Donations in Ann Evensen’s name can be made to:
Deschutes Public Library Foundation
AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund through the Bend Oregon Branch
AAUW Educational Foundation through the Bend Oregon Branch
Oregon Health Sciences University School of Nursing Scholarship fund
St Charles Medical Center Foundation
Beaver Athletic Student Fund through BASF