Evon was born on October 3, 1937, to Earl and Evona Sanders, in Kalamazoo, MI. She was raised, along with her younger brother, Gary Sanders, in Lawton, MI. She loved reminiscing about her time spent growing up with the “best parents in the world.” Evon attended Lawton Public Schools, graduating with the Class of 1955. She always had the fondest memories of her time in school, enjoying learning, friends, cheerleading, and just being a child of the 1950’s. Graduating along with her was a handsome young man, Richard Slevatz. On April 21, 1956 Richard, “Dick”, and Evon were wed at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, in Lawton. Dick and Evon would live to be married nearly 67 years!
Once married Dick and Evon literally set forth with building their own home on M-40, just south of Lawton. They began by building a basement first, one which Dick hand dug and laid the blocks, all while working full time. Dick and Evon would proceed to build a beautiful home from that hand dug basement, a home enjoyed by many friends and family over the years. Daughter, Robin, was born soon after, in July, 1957. Evon was a dedicated homemaker and mother, even working odd jobs to help make ends meet. In 1963, Evon enrolled in college, attending Western Michigan University, and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She taught English at Lawton High School and was the beloved class advisor to the future Class of ‘72. Her teaching career was cut short with the unexpected arrival of a son, Sanders, in the summer of 1969. With infant Sanders, and 12 year old Robin, Evon made the decision to stay at home. Dick and Evon were in the process of buying Earl and Evona’s water well business, becoming part time / full time farmers, and being ever present in the community. Evon stayed very involved in public education as a member of the Lawton Community School Board, where she would serve a total of 19 years, and having the privilege of handing both of her children their high school diplomas, twelve years apart. In 2022 Evon was honored with a place in the Lawton Community Schools Hall of Fame, for her outstanding contribution to the school system, the community, and especially the young people of Lawton.
Evon was a very active, social person. Throughout her life with Dick she enjoyed supporting her children, spending time with family, camping, motorcycling, quilting, volunteering, and especially traveling. They traveled all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, the Caribbean, the Soviet Union, China, India, Egypt, South Africa, Croatia, and Germany.
Evon had a philanthropic heart and was generous to many causes with her time and resources. From youth and high school sports and the arts, to organizations such as the Ministry with Community, Evon believed in sharing what she had. Through The Kara Fund, an organization started in memory of granddaughter Kara Fester, Dick and Evon were able to contribute to scholarships for Lawton High School graduates seeking secondary education, as well as many, many other organizations aiding children in need, around the world.
Family was always the priority with Evon. She made sure her home was the center of every holiday, birthday, and family gathering. Evon was a great host and all who entered her home were welcomed graciously. She loved her husband and partner, in business and in life, with all of her heart and soul, and gave everything to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She was a true, loyal, and generous friend.
Evon is survived by her husband Richard Slevatz of Lawton, her daughter, Robin (Charles) Beacham of Lawton; son, Sanders (Laura) Slevatz of Portage; grandchildren, Alana (Johnny) Barone, Anna Fester, Sean Raymond, Marcus Pikkaart, MacKenzie Pikkaart and Grant Pikkaart; great grandchildren Sebastian Barone and Burklynn Pikkaart. She was preceded in death by her brother, Gary Sanders and two grandchildren, Kara Fester and Dominik Slevatz.
The last several years of Evon’s life were difficult, as she suffered with Alzheimer’s disease and depression. She passed away peacefully, April 6, 2023.
Family and friends are invited to visit on Saturday, April 29, 2023, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Adams Funeral Home, 502 W. Michigan Ave., Paw Paw, MI. A memorial service will follow at 1:00 pm. Donations in Evons memory may be made to “The Kara Fund”, 72819 M40 Lawton MI 49065.
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The Kara Fund
72819 M40, Lawton MI 49065