|Honored by:||John D. Beamer|
|Brick location:||K:6 map|
Evelyn N. Owens Beamer Warrick was born in Winfield, Iowa, November 12, 1910. In 1916, her family moved to Clearfield, Iowa, where she graduated from high school. Evelyn was an inspired mother, a respected school teacher, a devoted grandmother and a true friend to those who knew her.
Evelyn began her Iowa teaching career in 1929 in a one-room country school named Hillside School, located southeast of Clearfield, Iowa. Her first Hillside class consisted of a total of 19 pupils; two first graders, three second graders, three third graders, three fourth graders, one fifth grader, three sixth graders and four seventh graders. Her duties were not limited to preparing daily lesson plans for seven grades.
During the cold winter months Evelyn needed to be at school early in the morning to start a fire in the stove so the classroom would be warm when the children arrived. Other responsibilities were the daily cleaning of the school; maintaining a supply of fresh drinking water for the children and making sure there was plenty of fuel to start a fire in the stove the next day. Evelyn's transportation to and from school in these early years was accomplished on horseback, regardless of the weather conditions.
She was a small woman only 5 feet tall and holding the horse to mount it was quite a feat on those frigid winter days. Getting astride the horse was only the first challenge she had to master on her nightly trip home. One of her students lived on her route home, so this child was always perched behind her on the horse. The horse was cold from being tied outside all day and knowing that a warm barn awaited it would race at a hard to control speed toward Evelyn's homestead farm over a mile away. The mother, of the child Evelyn carried on horseback with her, would wait in the middle of the road to help stop the speeding horse so her child could safely dismount.
Evelyn married Cecil Beamer in 1932 and left teaching to begin to raise a family which would consist of two children. It was during this time that she joined a local club called "the modern mothers". She took great pride in this membership, maintaining it for many years after her own children were grown. She related how important she felt diet and nutrition were in raising children and it was from this perspective that she got the idea of pureeing vegetables for young children. This was some time before the advent of commercial baby food!
Evelyn was a homemaker until the death of her first husband in 1944 at which time it became necessary to return to teaching. Evelyn once again returned to teaching in one-room country school houses. Her next school was located a few miles northeast of Clearfield, near the small town of Diagonal. Transportation posed a problem as she had no car or driver's license. She had to hire someone to take her back and forth to school each day. The school was located over one half mile from the nearest gravel road. If it rained or snowed she had to walk that one half mile twice each day as the car would be unable to negotiate the mud or drifts.
At day's end she would then return home to correct the student's work plan her lessons for the next day and care for her own two youngsters. This of course was after the daily cleaning of the school; maintaining a supply of fresh drinking water for the children and making sure there was plenty of fuel to start the fire in the stove the next day.
As the years progressed standards for teaching in Iowa changed. Evelyn wanted to continue teaching and so attended summer school classes in Shenandoah for several years to meet these new qualifications. During these summers, relatives helped her with the care of her own children.
In 1951, she was married to William J. "Bill" Warrick. She began teaching again in a country schoolhouse close to the farm she and Bill lived on near Caledonia, Iowa. When a position opened she began teaching in the Mt. Ayr Public School District in secondary schools in Redding and Tingley, Iowa. She retired from education in 1962.
After the death of Bill in 1979 she continued to be an active member in her church (70 years), maintained a large group of friends, continued her membership in her book club and volunteered many hours to help others. In the mid 1990s, she entered the Clearview Nursing Home in Mt. Ayr, Iowa. Evelyn always embraced life with courage, confidence, exemplary character and gentleness of spirit. These traits contributed to Evelyn's success as a parent, grandparent, friend and educator.
While residing at the Clearview Nursing Home in Mt. Ayr, Iowa, Evelyn was frequently visited by her students, their children and grandchildren. Evelyn's life presented her with many challenges which she met with a smile on her face. She had spirit and the endurance to persevere making the best of what life sent her way. Though small in stature, this mother, grandmother, teacher and friend had a very large and caring heart; for those things that matter most in life she will long be remembered in the hearts of many.
Evelyn died in her sleep October 24, 2003.