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Published on Apr 26, 2017
On March 8, 2017, my wife Evie died at Casey House Hospice in Rockville, Maryland, of respiratory failure from ALS. I put together a video display of about 100 photos from throughout her life, which was shown during her memorial service on March 25, and at the dinner/reception that followed. That display, with a few additions, is presented here.
If you knew Evie, at any point in her life, I hope you’ll find pictures here that revive some happy memories. If you didn’t know her, I hope you’ll be inspired by these photos of an exuberant woman who loved life and people, and expressed it all through a beautifully natural, radiant smile. To point a camera at Evie was to evoke such a smile, and only rarely have I seem a photo of her where she wasn’t smiling, no matter how far back in her life you go. Evie’s smile was her most distinguishing feature, and it always lit up the room she was in and brightened the spirits of those around her. As much as anything, these photos document Evie’s smile and all the wonderful things it conveyed about her.
A few details about these photos may help: Evie’s parents, Glenn and Grace Kirkland, appear with her in a number of the opening and early pics. Our wedding (2:30 on) took place September 8, 1973. Our son Ben and Lorinda Tanner’s wedding (12:10 on) took place July 28, 2008, and our son Nate and Melissa Thompson’s wedding (two pics at 15:40 on) took place May 16, 2014. Pics at 9:30 on are from a trip Evie made to Ghana with a group from University of West Virginia in summer 1999 to study percussion playing in that country, and pics at 11:30 on are from a music educators’ trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in summer 2000.
A special word about the final photo, of a large school staff flaunting red attire. Evie taught elementary school music in Montgomery County, Maryland for 25 years, the bulk of them at Fox Chapel Elementary in Germantown. Although Evie retired in June 2014, affection for her at Fox Chapel remained so strong that on March 9, 2017, the day after her death, the entire staff wore red to school in memory of Evie. This picture documents that stunning tribute.
The background music for this display is a handful of guitar originals that I recorded at home. – Blaine Smith