Evalyn Darger Bennett gracefully passed on December 14, 2022 at the age of 96 at her home with family in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was born January 6, 1926 in Salt Lake City, the fourth of five children to Eva Williams and Perry Stanford Darger. She was named after her beloved Mother “Eva,” who was the greatest influence in her life.
Evalyn loved her classmates and made and kept life-long friends. She attended Wasatch Elementary School and helped plan two reunions for childhood classmates. She attended Bryant Junior High School and East High School. She graduated from the University of Utah in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. As an outstanding leader and friend, Evalyn served as President of the Chi Omega Sorority as well as the President of the Associated Women Students at the University of Utah. She excelled as a student, writer, and leader. Her various talents were acknowledged through membership in Spurs, Cwean, Mortar Board, and Beehive Honor Society at the University of Utah.
After college, Evalyn taught Kindergarten at both Uintah and Riverside Elementary Schools in Salt Lake City. Later, she worked as a staff member with the Society and Women’s Department at the Deseret News.
Evalyn married Wallace Reed Bennett on September 9, 1952 in the Salt Lake Temple. Their incredible union was the beginning of their life together of children, friends, travel, and entertaining. They are the parents of five children: Franklin, David, Marion, Susan, and James. She was an adoring angel mother, champion of good, and silent world changer. Wallace and Evalyn enjoyed an incredible 57 years together before his death July 25, 2010.
As a lecturer, writer, listener, and friend, Evalyn had a meaningful impact on many lives. She was an avid reader and note-taker with “yellow notepad in hand.” Her virtues of wisdom, compassion, strength, and love were her gifts. The importance of giving and receiving love was her essence.
She was a docent for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Utah Symphony Guild, and the Utah Heritage Foundation. Evalyn was always looking out for people, including through volunteering for Hospice of Salt Lake and Listening Post, a crisis hot line. She served on the U of U Alumni Association Board and the University Library Board. In 1993, she was recognized as an outstanding alumna and contributor and was awarded the Merit of Honor Award from the Emeritus Alumni Association, U of U.
She was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was a loved teacher in all of the auxiliaries. Her favorite calling was teacher for Blazer B Boys in Primary. She was a member of the Deseret Sunday School Union General Board.
Evalyn loved entertaining and meeting often with friends. She had many groups and associations she enjoyed, including “Pong Tong,” Authors Club, and “Soul Talk.” “Festive Evie,” as her family called her, loved to entertain family and friends at luncheons and dinners. Festive Evie and Jolly Wally enjoyed traveling together with their family around the world, learning about other cultures. She was an enthusiastic and vigorous gardener, making the world a more beautiful place. At Christmas time, her home was filled with the hundreds of Christmas nativity scenes she collected. She was also a member of the national organization, Friends of the Creche. As a writer and journalist at heart, Evalyn felt one of her greatest contributions to her family was “pumping out” a monthly newsletter on her old-fashioned electric typewriter for over 30 years.
Evalyn was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, various siblings, and in-laws: Josephine Darger Hemingway, Robert Williams Darger, Stanford Parley Darger and sister-in-law Arlene Barlow Darger, and brother-in-law Charles Martin Woolf.
Evalyn is survived by her beloved sister Marion Darger Woolf of Mesa, Arizona. They were best of friends, never missing their Sunday night calls. Evalyn also valued her bond with her sister-in-law Frances Johnson Darger of Salt Lake City, Utah, who survived Evalyn.
Evalyn is also survived by her children: Franklin Reed Bennett and his former spouse Lisa Whiteley, David Darger Bennett, Marion Bennett Mahas & Steven Mahas, Susan Elizabeth Bennett Nichols & Lynn Nichols, all of Salt Lake City, Utah, and James Wallace Bennett & Sara Liu of Monterey, California.
Evalyn’s precious posterity includes 15 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. They will forever treasure memories of Christmas Eve parties, handwritten birthday cards, and Halloween costume parties with scavenger hunts. Her grandchildren are Claire Whiteley Bennett Adam & spouse Ryan Bruce Adam, Carson Whiteley Bennett & Margaret O’Brien Bennett, Alexander Whiteley Bennett & Emilie Trepanier, Amanda Whiteley Bennett Buchanan & Nate Buchanan; Megan Mahas & Sammy Fan, Michael & Nichole Mahas, Anna Mahas & Milo Williams, Adam & Rebecca Mahas, and Jessie Mahas & Tom Burbank; Natalie Evalyn Nichols & Donald Jones, Jennifer Nichols & Robert Edgel, Stephanie Nichols & Clayson Knight; Madeline Bennett, Audrey Eva Bennett, and Mia Bennett. Evalyn’s great-grandchildren are John, Juliette, Eric, Chandler, Millie Eva, Eleanor, Gretel, Bennett, Abram, Wesley, Georgiana, Caroline, Brooklyn, Luke, Nora Evalyn, Eliza, Emmie, Emma, and James Joshua.
Friends are invited to celebrate her life and 97th Birthday at a party on Friday, January 6, 2023 from 7 to 9 pm at the Foothill Second Ward, 1930 South 2100 East, Salt Lake City, Utah. Funeral services will be at the Foothill Second Ward at 11 am on Saturday, January 7, 2023. Interment will be at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 S. Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah.
Recording of the services can be found by clicking on the "Watch Services" link above. A free Zoom account is required and you must be logged in to your Zoom account to view.
Evalyn always credited a daily dose of chocolate to her happiness and longevity.
At her request, please consider providing your support for the Lowell Bennion Community Center at the University of Utah. (1-800-716-0377 or https://bennioncenter.org/give/index.php.)
Frank and other members of of the Bennett family:
My condolences on the passing of Mrs. Evalyn Bennett. She and Wally were beloved members of the college of law community. I am glad you had her with you for so long, even after Wally’s passing.
Bob Flores , Professor of Law—Emeritus, SJQ College of Law, University of Utah.
We have known and loved Evalyn since 1961; she was a real treasure, and our memories are treasured. Intelligent, kind, witty, reaching out to others, she was special and will be missed.
Every interaction I had with Mrs. Bennett was a delight. Her sincerity, smile, interest, kindness, poise and grace permeated all around her. She was a marvelous example of an amazing woman, dedicated friend and grand matriarch. I see those same fine qualities and service developed in her wonderful daughter Susan and am grateful for her loving example of how to be a kind and thoughtful caregiver. I appreciate all of the Bennett children and grandchildren and borrow some of your family traditions of gathering, olympics, newsletters, histories, etc. May you bask in the great love you have for each other and for your beautiful Evalyn/festive Evie.