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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Evelyn Bress

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Funeral services for Evelyn Bress, 79, of Spencer, will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at Grace United Methodist Church in Spencer. Rev. Chuck Kellogg will officiate the service.

Burial will take place prior to the service at 10 a.m. at North Lawn Memorial Park in Spencer.

Mrs. Bress passed away Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, at St. Luke Lutheran Home in Spencer.

Evelyn Bress, who died on Nov. 6, 2011, was a teacher, devoted wife, and the mother of two sons. She was an inspiration to hundreds of northwest Iowa high school students, to whom she taught Spanish and German, and whose minds she opened to the cultures and languages of the wider world.

Evelyn was born on Nov. 18, 1931, to Gustav and Marie First of Moneta, Ia., and was their only child. Gustav and Marie were immigrants from northern Germany, and Evelyn grew up speaking Plattdeutsch, the dialect of that region. She learned to speak English only upon entering kindergarten, but she was a bright student who did well in her classes and enjoyed reading. She attended school in Moneta through graduation.

At 17, Evelyn met and fell in love with Kenneth Bress, of Sheldon, and they were married on March 27, 1949. Their marriage lasted 63 years, until Ken's death last month at the age of 83. The couple followed Ken's job as a meat cutter, which took them from Spencer to Marshalltown and Holstein, Iowa, before returning to Spencer. Except for a period of several years' retirement in Tucson, Arizona, Spencer was to remain their home for the rest of their lives.

After the birth of their first son, Keith, and the family's return to Spencer, Evelyn worked for the Methodist Church. In the fall of 1963, she enrolled in Buena Vista College, where she majored in Spanish and German. A second son, Kent, was born later that year. After graduation, Evelyn embarked upon a quarter-century career as an educator, and as a

continuing learner. She taught Spanish and German in high schools around the area, including Ruthven, Ayrshire, Clay Central, Royal, and from 1979 to 1992, in Spencer. In the summers she would continue her own education, taking graduate level courses at colleges and universities around the U.S. and in Mexico and Germany, and she earned a Masters Degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Minnesota in 1977. Evelyn's devotion to teaching prompted her to go the extra mile for her students. She lead them on trips to Mexico and Germany, and, with her students from Royal, she formed a folk dance group, which toured around the region.

In their retirement, Ken and Evelyn spent summers traveling around the U.S., and took trips abroad to many countries, including Russia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico and Japan.

Evelyn was preceded in death by her husband, Ken on Oct. 15, 2011; and a foster daughter, Pam Loats.

Left to cherish her memory are two sons: Keith and his wife, Linda Bress of Spencer, and Kent and his wife, Kate Maliga of Arlington, Va.; three grandchildren: David Bress of Iowa City, Ia., Ashley Bress and Orion Bress, both of Arlington, Va.; her special friends, Nancy and Mike Taylor of Milford, Ia.; a former foreign exchange student, Shu Murao of Japan; a former foreign exchange teacher, Michelle Keller of Switzerland; and numerous former students, other relatives and friends.

Warner Funeral Home in Spencer is in charge of arrangements.