Evelyn L Stroh (Frees)February 18, 1929 ~ January 29, 2017 (age 87)
Evelyn Loraine Frees Stroh, age 87, of Miles City formerly of Colorado passed away on Sunday, January 29, 2017 in Miles City.
Evelyn was born to Lawrence Edward and Etta Bernice Frees on February 18, 1929 in Denver, Colorado, the youngest of four children. She spent her childhood on the family homestead in the high country east of Buena Vista Colorado. Her parents were ranchers raising cattle, sheep, potatoes and hay where she and her three brothers learned the value of hard work and strong family ties. They had few neighbors and walked or rode horseback between 2 and 3 miles each day to school. They always looked forward to the breaking of spring when they could get out to a road and to make their way to Denver and the Front Range to get supplies and visit relatives. When Evelyn was 14 she moved to Elbert, Colorado to live with her grandparents Gearhart so she could attend high school. While there she became involved in both the Presbyterian and Christian Churches. In the spring of 1947 she graduated from Elbert High School. After high school Evelyn moved to Denver to go to Beauty School and begin her career as a beautician. She vowed to never marry a rancher. In 1949 while attending a public dance in Franktown, Colorado she met and was attracted to a good looking man with lots of hair and long sideburns who drove a metallic green Packard convertible. This man, who became the love of her life was Donald Stroh, a cattle rancher.
Don and Evelyn were married on March 12, 1950. They made their home on the ranch south of Parker, Colorado where they raised cattle, hay, wheat and later hogs and sold eggs to keep their family fed and to make it through the dry 50’s. Unto this marriage four sons were born. In the fall of 1962 Don and Evelyn moved their ranching operation east of Elizabeth, Colorado where they finished raising their family. The years there were spent cattle ranching and growing dryland crops. Together they built a butcher beef business specializing in Scotch Highland cross cattle, winning carcass contests around the country including the National Western Stock Show. One of the highlights of their lives was to travel to Scotland and visit the country where their cattle had originally come from. They both spent their lives very involved in their church and community as well as the many industry organizations. Her husband Don was called home to his Lord and Savior in March of 1989. Evelyn remained on the ranch for just over a year. She retired from ranching and moved back to Parker to the Stroh Ranch Subdivision, less than on half mile from where she began her married life. She later moved across town to a custom built home where she would host many, many meetings and gatherings.
Evelyn loved to travel. She and Don traveled abroad and enjoyed several cruises. After Don’s passing she and her sisters-in-law continued to travel and see the world. She also made several trips with her brother Don, including a trip to Europe to sight see and attend her niece’s wedding. One of Evelyn’s favorite hobbies was collecting bears. She bought bears, and was given bears. She was never known to turn down a bear. She could show you the exact spot where she saw her first bear at the base of Black Mountain over 80 years ago. Evelyn also loved to draw and paint. She put it down during her busiest years but took it up again after she retired and had more time.
Even after a severe stroke that left Evelyn paralyzed she remained active in her church and the cattle women’s association. She also continued to open her home to host many events. In 2013 Evelyn moved to Miles City, Montana to be closer to her family. She enjoyed going to the country to see the cattle on the hills, the county fairs and any place where she could see her grandchildren participate. She hardly ever missed church where she could mingle with fellow believers. Evelyn was known as a devoted servant. She could plan the whole event or just served in the background. She was devoted to Jesus our Lord and Savior, her husband, her family, her church and her friends. Evelyn was also famous as a good cook. She could cook for a large banquet or just feed one passerby that needed a meal. She had a gift for hospitality and folks were welcome in her home. Many a feed salesman would just happen by the place about noon!
Evelyn was a member of Parker Methodist Church from 1950 to 1962, Saint Mark Presbyterian Church (Later named Elizabeth Presbyterian) from 1962 to present and attended Valley Community Church from 2013 until her death. She was an active Republican serving as a delegate or election judge many times and of course preparing for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Evelyn was a member of the Colorado Farm Bureau for over 50 years, serving as a board member on the State Women’s Committee for two terms as well as serving many years with the Douglas and Elbert County Farm Bureau organizations. She was a member of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association both Douglas and Elbert County Livestock Associations as well as the Colorado Cattlewomen’s Association. Held most of the offices at the county level and worked at the State level on education and beef promotion. Evelyn was active for most of her life in the Presbyterian Women’s organization serving in many capacities including countless meals and banquets. She was a Sunday School Teacher for over forty years at Parker Methodist and Elizabeth Presbyterian Churches. She loved music and sang in the church choir for many years. Evelyn will be deeply missed but leaves a legacy of trust in the Lord. She was a good steward of what He blessed her with and left the world a better place than when she found it!
Evelyn is survived by her sons, William (Cindy) of Jordan, MT, Robert (Kim) of Thief River Falls, MN, Bryan (Kathi) of New Castle, WY and Bret (Jacque) of New Castle, WY, grandsons Andy (Leia) of Scottsbluff, NE, Matt (Melissa) of New Castle, WY, Josh (Heidi) of Roy, MT, Jake (Joy) of Jordan, MT and Carl (Andrea) of Vilas, North Carolina, one granddaughter Mindy Auch (Josh) of New Castle, WY, her brothers, Milburn Frees of Kingman, AZ and Delmer Frees (Shirley) of Villa Grove, CO and her sisters-in-law Ruth Stroh Pitman of Littleton, CO and Margie Stroh of Walsenburg, CO, twenty five great grandchildren and twenty nieces and nephews. Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents, Lawrence and Bernice Frees, her mother and father-in-law, Carl and Rosabelle Stroh, her husband, Donald E. Stroh, her brother Donald Frees, her sister-in-law Edith Frees, her brother-in-law Lew Pitman, her brother and sister-in-law Reuben and Pearl Stroh Nauman, and two brothers-in-law Jack Stroh and Herb Stroh.
If desired memorials may be made to the Valley Community Church Building Fund or to the Elizabeth Presbyterian Women.
Memorial services were also held on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. at the Valley Community Church in Miles City.
Elizabeth Presbyterian Women
325 S Banner St, Elizabeth CO 80107
Valley Community Church Building Fund
1004 N Sewell Ave., Miles City MT 59301