1/9/1921 – 2/9/2021
On Feb. 9, 2021 at age 100, Evelyne Marie Houdek passed away peacefully with dignity and grace at Serenity House surrounded by family. She was a true matriarch of her large and loving family. Evelyne was a proud mother of three daughters, six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, all of whom she had a close relationship with. She remembered every birthday, celebrated every homerun and acknowledged every achievement with a handwritten note, text or even an Instagram shout out.
Evelyne was born in Chicago, Illinois to Leo and Jessie (Thorenfelth) Bastlin, the second of six children. She walked 2½ miles to Morton High School in Cicero, Illinois, then graduated from the attached two-year community college in 1941. At a community center dance, she met University of Illinois student Lawrence C. Houdek. The two fell in love and married two weeks before Pearl Harbor. They moved to Minnesota, where Larry began his career with 3M with a degree in engineering. Later, Larry was drafted into the Navy and, after serving in World War II on an oil tanker, he returned to 3M.
Evelyne and Larry lovingly raised three daughters, Laurie (Thomas) Hill, Linda Whiston, and Marcia (Richard) Jimenez. They raised their family in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, enjoying an active life. In 1968, she and Larry moved to Italy for Larry’s work, and later to Belgium where they enjoyed the opportunity to travel all over the world before returning to the U.S. They retired in 1982. In seeking a warm respite from cold Minnesota winters in their golden years, they moved to The Meadow in Carpinteria, California. They became members of Birnam Wood Golf Club where they enjoyed many years of sunshine, golf and lasting friendships.
Evelyne considered herself fortunate to have been a stay-at-home mom; and relished in her ability to give care and love to everyone in her life. She was a gifted listener and was always eager to offer a meal, a hug or gentle advice. Her wisdom was admired by all of her family. At her 99th birthday celebration, her advice for a long and prosperous life was, “Love yourself. Do the best you can. Then maybe someday you can blow out a candle too!”
Interested in genealogy, Ev was able to find her extended families in both Denmark and Norway, which led to her involvement with the Santa Barbara American Scandinavian Foundation. She was honored in 2021 for over 30 years of leadership in ASFSB. The Houdeks were also members of Carpinteria Community Church where Ev sang in the choir for over 30 years.
Because of these involvements, Evelyne asked that memorials be directed to these two entities: Carpinteria Community Church, 1111 Vallecito Rd. Carpinteria, CA 93013; and American Scandinavian Foundation Scholarship Fund, PO Box 41502, Santa Barbara, CA 93140-1502.