Helen Elisabeth Evans passed away peacefully at her San Jose home by her husband’s side on Sunday, August 23, 2015, after a protracted battle with cancer. She was born in North Dinuba, CA, delivered at home by her own father. Because of that, she became her father’s favorite and to the chagrin of her brothers and sisters, she could do no wrong in her father’s eyes. She was the third youngest of 12 kids. When people would ask her how many brothers and sisters she had, she’d reply, “Six. And a half dozen more”, but liked to run the words together to suggest six and a half dozen. She said she liked watching people’s eyes get wide at that. She attended Reedley College, then moved to San Jose.
She initially worked for Pittsburgh- DesMoines Steel and K & H Construction, where she became an original San Francisco Giants “gamer babe” long before that phrase was a common place part of the local language, hurrying through her work so she could attend many afternoon games at Candlestick Park. She finally began a lengthy career at El Camino Hospital, where she met her second husband Wayne. She exerted a profound influence on him, introducing him to the Christian life and to the church and when she learned that he was called into ministry, remarked that she’d always wanted to be a pastor’s wife. They relocated to Kansas City for four years of seminary before returning to San Jose for their first, and only, pastoral assignment at San Jose Valley Church of the Nazarene. She became the church pianist, playing an entertaining, self-taught southern-gospel style of keyboards and was an accomplished vocalist. She taught Sunday School, was the church secretary and missions president.
She eventually went back to work at Valley Medical Center in the anesthesia department but still gave unstintingly of her time to church activities. At Valley Medical Center she gathered to herself another whole “family” as she became “mom” to many of the young anesthetists and their kids became her grandkids. She was an adept knitter, and a great cook and baker. For years, she baked dozens of loaves of bread each Christmas to distribute to the congregation as well as to her work family. She loved cats and her cat Brutus was her very favorite of them all. She also was so proud of her red Chrysler 300M.
She is survived by her husband Wayne, daughters; Julie DeMoulin and Joy Finocchio of Manteca, CA, and Tracy Bartel of San Jose; grandchildren Joseph, Johnny, Matthew, Charlie, Chris, Cole, Amanda, Nicole and Scotty; great-grandchildren Sophia, Jasmine and Leo; brothers, Pete Bartel of Reedley, CA, Dave Bartel of San Jose, CA, Leonard Bartel of Ripon, CA, Paul Bartel of Manteca, CA and sister, Myrtle Newby of San Jose, CA.
Graveside services were held in Manteca, CA. A memorial celebration will be held this Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 1pm at San Jose Valley Church of the Nazarene, 635 Calero Ave., San Jose, CA 95136. Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the church.
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Friday, September 11, 2015