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1935 Eyvonne Smith 2024

Eyvonne Smith

March 12, 1935 — February 6, 2024

Kearney, NE

     Funeral Services will be on Monday, February 12, 2024, at 10:30 AM at the Christ's Church at Lillian with Don Schauda officiating. Burial will follow in the Gates Cemetery at Gates, NE. Memorials are suggested to Gates Community, Gates Cemetery, Community Memorial Health of Burwell, or the Donor’s Choice. A register book may be signed on Sunday, February 11th from 1:00 to 6:30 pm at Govier Brothers Mortuary in Broken Bow, and a visitation with family will be on Monday, February 12th, from 9:00 am to Service time at 10:30 am at the Christ's Church at Lillian. Govier Brothers Mortuary are in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

    Just a few weeks short of her 89th birthday, Eyvonne Smith passed away Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at Community Memorial Health Center, Burwell, Nebraska. A loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Eyvonne was a lifelong caregiver for her family and others. She particularly enjoyed caring for children and often provided babysitting services for friends and neighbors. By many, she will be best remembered for her hospitality.

     Elda "Eyvonne" Huffman was born in rural Custer County on March 12, 1935, joining parents Harold and Elda (Gates) Huffman and a sister, Ardes. During the latter years of the Great Depression the family resided near Milburn. For a time, they lived in a sod house located on Huffman family land. Decades later, Eyvonne enjoyed listeners' surprised responses when she shared stories from her soddy experience. She attended school at Milburn until the family moved to Sargent. She later told stories of roller-skating to school in Sargent, learning to avoid the sidewalk cracks that caused falls and skinned knees.

     Eyvonne married Eugene (Gene) Smith, of rural Sargent, on June 16, 1952. Early in their marriage the couple resided at the end of a two-track trail, on a Loup County ranch where Gene worked. She learned to be prepared for the ranch owner's frequent but unannounced visits - which almost always occurred at meal time. Sometimes she served prairie chicken that she had shot with a .22 rifle, while leaning out the kitchen window.

     Eyvonne followed Gene to El Paso, Texas, and then New Ellington, South Carolina, during his service in the US Army. After returning to Nebraska, Gene worked for the Nebraska Brand Committee, serving as brand inspector in North Platte, Broken Bow, Lexington, Alliance, and Grand Island. The frequent relocation ended in 1963, when the family made a final move to Kearney. For many years, Eyvonne's kitchen table was the gathering place for meetings between Gene and inspectors he supervised. Eyvonne supplied the coffee and cookies or cake. When criminal investigators were in the area, they often shared meals at the same table.

     A great cook, Eyvonne's meals often included produce from her own garden - a big one. Her marksmanship came in handy as she dispatched rabbits that dared to invade that domain. And snakes better stay away, for her hoe was kept sharp. Being active with much bending and stretching must have been a good thing. She was extremely flexible. Up until just a few years ago, she could grasp her foot and bring her toe to her chin. Standing with knees locked, she could bend over and place both palms flat on the floor.

     If she summoned a child and wasn't heard, she might whistle. Placing her thumb and forefinger in her mouth just so, she could muster a loud and shrill whistle. And the kid better come a runnin' or she would come after you. It took a lot of growing up before her own kids could beat her in a foot-race.

     Eyvonne and Gene raised two sons, Troy and Dean, and a daughter, Linda. They also helped raise 10 grandchildren. They accompanied grandsons to 4-H Horse Camp at Fort Robinson, where Grandma cooked and endured sleeping in a tent. Little granddaughters stayed at Grandma's house and enjoyed the "Little House on the Prairie" picnics she arranged. Eyvonne showed granddaughters how to sew and told grandsons they ought to learn it too.

     Eyvonne was good at sewing and created children’s clothing and men's western shirts. She did embroidery, knitted sweaters and afghan blankets, and she made quilts. Most of her creations were given away as gifts. Eyvonne also created stories in rhyme. She wrote many poems about her life experiences - especially her childhood - and people she admired. Her poetry also bears testimony to her faith in Jesus Christ as her savior.

     Eyvonne's family and closest friends will always remember her devotion to Gene during the last several years of his life. As his health declined, she remained the dedicated and thorough caregiver.

     Eyvonne is survived by her children: Troy (LeeAnn) Smith of Sargent, Dean (Yvonne) Smith of Kearney, and Linda (Pat) Jones of Cambridge. Survivors also include nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, as well as a niece and nephew. Eyvonne was preceded in death by her husband, parents, sister and a grandson.


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Service Schedule

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Funeral Service

Monday, February 12, 2024

10:30 - 11:30 am (Central time)

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