Evelyn Cook Harris was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend. She left this world on September 27, 2022, at age 87, after a long and happy life.
Born on January1, to Frank and Anna Matilda Haroldsen Cook, she was the first baby born in Bonneville County in 1935. The very next year, the Idaho Falls community started giving gifts for the first New Year’s baby. Her father jokingly said, “We’ll show them for not giving us any gifts. We’ll quit having children!” Indeed, she was the last of their six children, raised with an abundance of love from her parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. She lived with her family on their farm in Goshen, southwest of Shelley, and attended Kyper Grade School, a two-room school, where she skipped 3rd grade. In 6th grade, she transferred to Goshen Elementary, which boasted three classrooms, a gymnasium - and indoor restrooms.
Evelyn was the president of her sophomore class at Firth High School. Always active in music, she was the sole accompanist for their choirs throughout her high school years, starting at age 14. She graduated in 1952 as the Firth High School salutatorian, then attended BYU-Provo on an academic scholarship, where she continued her studies of flute, piano, and organ. Selected as a member of the BYU Symphony Orchestra, Evelyn traveled to Mexico with the orchestra, giving concerts at various cities. She had the opportunity to do the same in Canada with the BYU Concert Band. Evelyn graduated from BYU in 1956 with a degree in elementary education and a very strong minor in music - in fact, she had more hours in music than she did in education! After graduation, she came home to teach school for one year in Shelley, then returned to BYU-Provo and began studying for a masters degree in counseling.
On August 22, 1957, she married Alva Alton Harris, the son of Lee and Mila Harris of Cut Bank, Montana, in the Idaho Falls Temple for time and all eternity. Just like her parents, brothers, and sisters had done, Alva doted on Evelyn. He was the perfect husband for her. After their marriage, Alva continued his education for two more years at BYU and three years at the University of Utah Law School. During this time, Evelyn taught school for one year in the Alpine School District. After Alva had completed his education, the young family returned to Shelley, much to the delight of Evelyn’s Parents. Alva opened his law office in 1962 and continued practicing law in Shelley for the next 56 years, retiring at age 84.
Evelyn had 24 nieces and nephews before her first child was born. These nieces and nephews, along with their spouses, were some of her best friends. She had a special love for every member of her family. Alva and Evelyn were eventually blessed with eight children. She frequently said that the Lord hand-picked each of her eight children, then searched heaven to find the perfect companion for each one, and that this process continued down through the generations. Alva and Evelyn spent 64 ½ joyful years together, and their happiest times were when they were surrounded by their loving children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
She was a full-time mother until her eighth child, Emily, was a senior in high school, when she returned to teaching full-time at age 60. She taught music for three years in the Shelley School District, then taught second grade for the next four years.
Evelyn was always an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and served faithfully in all of her callings. She had a very strong testimony of the gospel and shared it with her family and associates, encouraging them to love the Lord and to serve Him. Among her many callings, she was the President of the Relief Society, and served in the Young Women’s Program for many years. She was the Ward Music Chairman, and the ward Organist also for many years. Some of her happiest times spent in church service were teaching the teenagers to play three hymns on the organ technically correct each time they accompanied the congregation, and to lead the singing. She taught these skills to the youth for over thirty years.
Evelyn is survived by her eight children and their spouses, 37 grandchildren and spouses, and 26 great-grandchildren. Evelyn is also survived by her sister Illa Mae Richardson, children: LeGrande (Marlene) Harris, Liz Andrus, Jared (Sonya) Harris, Brittany (Jeff) Jones, Wanda (Andy) Kirby, Darrell Jay (Alyssa) Harris, Anna (Aaron) Blonquist, and Emily (Dan) Hodson.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Alva, only seven months ago. She was also preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, and their spouses: Glenn (Emma) Cook, Darrell (Afton) Cook, Elaine (Grant Hanny and Berke Larsen) Hanny-Larsen, L. Jay (Anita) cook, and brother-in-law Newell K. Richardson, and her grandson Luke Jayden Hodson.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Monday, October 3, 2022, at the Shelley South Stake Center (675 S Milton). Those who would like to participate in the funeral service remotely are invited to view the service on a live broadcast at https://zoom.us/j/99584424579 The family will meet with friends Sunday evening from 6:00-7:30 pm at Nalder Funeral Home (110 W. Oak Street) and Monday from 9:30-10:40 am at the church. Burial will be in the Goshen Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, if anyone is interested in making a donation, please donate to the Church Perpetual Education Fund, in memory of Evelyn’s lifelong love of education.