On April 8, 102-year-old Riverton resident Evangeline Williams passed away, ending the final chapter of an incredible story.
The woman known as an incredible cook, a champion bowler and “always looking her best” and spent her life helping people despite having troubled times along the way.
Her son Neil Longbottom said his mother had maintained friendships across the Mid North despite moving far and wide during her lifetime.
“She had a very full life and she was very popular at the nursing home where she eventually died,” he said.
“She was seen to be able to make something from nothing and always looked like the lady of the day,” Neil said.
Neil explained his mother always took a great pride in the way she presented herself and would scour op shops looking for the latest looks.
beyond her appearance, Eva was a mother, daughter, sister and friend and spent her live travelling.
Spending her childhood and teenage years living in Mannum and Port Pirie, Eva never avoided hard work.
During the war – she was 14 – Eva obtained work at the munitions factory and helped out her neighbours by performing household duties and picking and dying fruit.
“She didn’t have a flamboyant upbringing at all … things were pretty tough,” Neil said.
“Always a doer and surviver … and suffered a few hardships and setback along the way.”
Eva’s first marriage was to Max Longbottom, a farmer from Yorke Peninsula.
They were married for 25 years and raised two sons before Max suddenly died of a heart attack in 1967.
After years of maintaining the family farm alone, Eva decided to move to Clare where she became involved with golf, local theatre, gardening and lawn bowls.
“She was a very keen bowler but she was also pretty keen on catering and that sort of thing,” Neil said.
“There was always something to cater for and bowls was but one.”
Clare’s Jack Williams soon after took notice of Eva and over ten years, their friendship grew until they eventually they got married in 1983.
“When he (Jack) and my mother got to know each other they did quite a lot of travel overseas, New Zealand and around Australia,” Mr Longbottom said.
While still feeding the travel bug, the newly wed couple packed their bags and moved to Riverton – acquiring a new senior citizen’s unit together.
In 1987, Eva lost her eldest son Dean when he died suddenly from a massive heart attack. Her mother Edith also died peacefully just a day apart.
Her husband Jack’s health deteriorated after 25 years of marriage when he was admitted to the Gilbert Valley Aged Care Hostel and Eva visited him daily until be died a few months later.
“She was like all mothers I suppose … always concerned about the welfare of the family,” Neil said.
“She was very generous with her time and whatever she could afford to do, she did.”
Eva passed away on April 8, 2017, at age 102 after a full life of travel, food, sport and friendship – spending her final years at the Eldercare facilities in Maitland and Minlaton.