A Remembrance of Evelyn Friend Loomis
[Reprinted from GroundSwell, 2002]
Evelyn Friend Loomis died July 23 of cancer in her Sacramento, CA
home, with her husband, Richard Loomis, and daughter, Elizabeth
Friend, at her side.
Evelyn Julleta Walton was born in Harding, S.D., and when she was in
the 4th grade was called to testify in the trial of her father for
home- schooling his children in that isolated north- western corner of
South Dakota. The jury couldn't reach a verdict, but
afterward,Evelyn's father built a one-room schoolhouse for his
Evelyn was able to finish high school by working for room and board
in three different towns. In the middle of the Depression and with $15
in hand, she boarded a produce truck and rode to Denver for work in a
boarding house and an education at a business school. That led to
employment as a store bookkeeper.
She met and married her first husband, Don Friend, in 1940. They
settled in Ogden, Utah, where she had two children, and worked as a
bookkeeper for various stores and businesses while taking college
courses. In Ogden, she helped organize the first League of Women
Voters chapter in Utah. Then the family moved to Sacramento, where her
husband worked at McClelland Air Force Base. They were divorced in
1970; Don died in 1984.
In Sacramento, Evelyn was a well-known and loved community activist.
A battler for justice, equality and democracy for over 40 years in
Sacramento, Evelyn was an indefatigable picketer, petitioner,
letter-writer and meeting-goer. Among Evelyn's many affiliations were:
The Henry George School; the League of Women Voters; The Town and
Country Democratic Club; Common Cause; The Sierra Club; Peace Action;
The Humanist Association; Sacramento United Nations Association;
Alliance for Democracy; World Federalist Association; Women's League
for Peace and Freedom; and Grandmothers for Peace. She served as Vice
President and Treasurer of many of these organizations; she also
worked "behind the scenes" for many, never one to need to be
the focus of attention.
One of Evelyn's main passions was promoting the land-use principles
of the 19th century economist Henry George. She was Director of the
Henry George School for nearly 30 years and then served on its Board
of Directors for five years.
A member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento since
1964, Evelyn was actively involved in The Forum, the Women's Alliance,
and served on the Social Responsibility Committee.
A Memorial Service was held August 11 at the Unitarian Universalist
Society of Sacramento. Evelyn was a member of the Sacramento
Traditional Jazz Society and worked for several years as a volunteer
for the Dixieland Jazz Jubilee held annually in Sacramento. Evelyn was
an excellent piano player, and gave piano lessons in her home.
In 1992 Evelyn married Richard Loomis, whom she had known for many
years as they championed similar causes and loved to attend the UUS
dances. In addition to continuing to work for justice and equality,
they traveled outside the U.S. extensively. Evelyn and Rich also
attended the annual conferences of the Council of Georgist
Organizations. Evelyn is also survived by her son, Douglas (Susan)
Friend, and grandchildren Spike and Savannah, and by her sisters
Margaret Weathers and Viola Whitmore of Arkansas and Freda Clements of
Tennessee, and brother Ernest Walton of Georgia, nieces and nephews.
Remembrances in Evelyn Friend Loomis's name may be sent to the Henry
George School of Sacramento, 811 - 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95816.