Evelyn Leiseth Shirley, 90, of Watford City, died surrounded by her family at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Watford City, N.D., on Wednesday morning, Sept. 16, 2009. Funeral services were held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009, at Wilmington Lutheran Church in Arnegard. Pastor Tim Swenson officiated and interment was held at Zoar Cemetery.
Evelyn Staal was born on March 30, 1919, to Silhim and Ingeborg (Grotrud) Staal near Emerson, N.D. She moved with her family to Dunn Center when she was six years old. At age nine, they moved to Patent Gate Township. Evelyn attended schools at Bull Flat and Patent Gate. She started her freshman year in Arnegard until her dad was hurt in the coal mine and she had to quit school to help at home.
Evelyn married Arnold Leiseth on June 1, 1938, at Watford City, N.D. Together, they farmed northeast of Arnegard in Farland Township. They had four children: Donald, Kenneth, Lyle and Patricia. Evelyn enjoyed baking and serving anyone that stopped by to visit. She always had something to serve whether it was homemade buns, rolls, doughnuts or pie. It didn’t take her long to serve a big meal at a moment’s notice. Evelyn was well known for her homemade lefse. She spent many hours cooking potatoes and frying lefse for her many customers. Arnold thoroughly enjoyed making the deliveries and coming home with more orders. Evelyn really enjoyed tending to her flowers and yard work. She also enjoyed sewing, crocheting and making quilts for her family. Evelyn always enjoyed sewing mission quilts because she knew they would keep someone warm. Arnold passed away on April 26, 1985.
On Feb. 8, 1990, Evelyn married James Shirley at Arnegard, N.D. They enjoyed spending time traveling and visiting family and friends between their homes in Arnegard and Helena, Mont., Jim passed away on Oct. 18, 1998.
Evelyn was a member of the Wilmington Lutheran Church and WELCA, Farland Homemakers, 50 Years in the Saddle, the Long X Wagon Train, and the Sons of Norway where she served as social director and enjoyed many dances with Arnold.
Evelyn is survived by her children, Donald (Pat) Leiseth of Watford City, N.D., Kenny (Patti) Leiseth, Lyle (Sharon) Leiseth and Patti (Lynn) Hovde, all of Arnegard, N.D.; stepson, David Shirley, of Spokane, Wash.; stepdaughters Debbie (John) Svaldi of Butte, Mont., and Sandy (Mansur) Niaz of Houston, Texas; seven grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands, Arnold and Jim; sisters, Emma Fjeld and Sally Smesrud; and brother, Norman Staal; granddaughter, Cassie Leiseth; and great-grandchildren, Brett, Heather, and Heidi Leiseth.
Friends may share memories and condolences with the family online at www.fulkersons.com