Evelyn was born May 12, 1927, in Marthaville, LA and died peacefully on July 13, 2023, in Bossier City, LA.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Cleveland Strong, her parents Henry Arthur & Lula Berry, her brother Henry Arthur Berry, Jr, and her sister Martha Chiocchi. She is survived by her three children Dr. Tommy Strong (Kim) of Lake Charles, LA, Linda Jones (Bill) of Sevierville, TN, & Janet Merrell (Larry) of Bossier City, LA. She is also survived by her six grandchildren, Christine Glazier (Brandon), William Strong, Diana Gregory (Chris), Daniel Jones, Patrick Merrell, and Cameron Merrell (Leanna) as well as three great-grandchildren, Tyler, Elizabeth, and Mae.
Evelyn lived a life of perseverance, independence, and bravery. Motherless by the age of two, she was raised by her widowed father during the Great Depression. Although she had both a nurturing grandmother and aunt in her early life, she was cast into the role of family cook and caretaker at a young age. After graduating from Marthaville High School at the age of 16, she moved to Shreveport to attend business school. After graduation, she worked for 12 years at various businesses in Shreveport, her favorite job being that of transcriptionist for Dr. W.R. Mathews, Chief Pathologist at Shreveport Charity Hospital. After her marriage in 1955, she moved to Minden, LA and accepted the role of “coach’s wife,” supporting her husband’s career, and caring for their three young children. As her children grew older, she resumed working, first as a transcriptionist at Minden Medical Center, and then as a school secretary alongside her husband, then principal of Minden High School.
After retiring in 1986, she was always eager to babysit her grandchildren, attend their ball games and school events, and gift them with her infamous “Christmas trash” each year. After Cleve’s death, she was determined to be independent, never wanting to rely on others, living life “her way.” She enjoyed reading, working crossword puzzles, and cheering on her favorite women’s college basketball teams.
A private burial was held at Gardens of Memory Cemetery in Minden, LA. The family suggests donations in Evelyn’s memory be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.