A Remembrance of Evelyn Friend Loomis

Nadine Stoner

[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 children.

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.