Evon Bleak nee Helen Evon Ridling Bleak, passed away peacefully in her home in Mimbres on January 1st at 86 years old surrounded by family. She was born January 16, 1934 in Mill Creek, Oklahoma to E. E. Buttermilk (Ervin) Ridling and Helen Quinton Ridling; they moved to Hanover, New Mexico when she was four. She was close friends with her aunts who were of similar age. One summer, they devised a scheme to stop the Coca Cola truck by laying down in the road. Evon ,ever mischievous, volunteered and after the driver veered off the road trying to avoid her. He came to check on her, she moaned to him “Coke! Coke!” Unimpressed he left her laying there without a free coke.
At 16 she fell smitten with Darwin Bleak and they married in January of 1950. Darwin feared he'd made a grave mistake when Evon made weenies and white sauce that he could barely choke down fearing that the dog might not even eat it. They couldn't eat at her mother's all the time so Darwin bought her a Fanny Farmer cookbook. Though she got off to a rocky start, yelling that Fanny Farmer could take her fanny back to the farm; she soon was whipping up delicious meals and was a prize-winning baker. After spending what she would later recall as one of the best years of her life, roughing it, helping Darwin cowboy in northern New Mexico they decided she would go to beauty school and get a hairdressing license to support the family financially. She was a pioneer as the primary breadwinner before it was acceptable putting her husband and later, two children through college. She owned her own beauty shop in Bayard, employing other local beauticians and worked well into her 70s. She served several terms as President for the local chapter of the Hairdressers Association.
Evon raised two children Dan Bleak and Denise Bleak Weissberger. She played a huge role in the lives of her eight grandchildren Rhett and Judd Stickney, Kyle Zale, Tara Bleak, Andra, Laura, Elyse and Danna Weissberger. She loved to sing and recite poetry. She was kind of bawdy and would sing what would become one of our favorites – Temptation. “Like a mud hole temps a skeeter that’s how you tempted me.” She sought to teach us life lessons like that our snot drops would become boogers by and by and how to flirt by holding our handkerchiefs just so. We had to deduce ourselves that the boogers shouldn’t go in our flirting hanky.
Evon was beautiful, one of the classiest women around. She was known for experimenting with different hairstyles and hair colors including pink. Denise was scolded for not drawing an accurate portrait of her mother in 5th grade because she had given her mother pink hair. At open house when she walked in, her teacher walked up to them and said you must be Mrs. Bleak. Danny remembers his friends telling him that his mother was stacked. She loved wearing big turquoise jewelry, especially pieces made by Darwin. Always well-coiffed, she had long nails that not only looked good but also made her the best back scratcher and saved one of her granddaughter’s lives by removing a tick tac that was lodged up her nose. She very active in Eastern Star and served as worthy matron several times for the Tyrone and Santa Rita chapters as well as a member of the Georgetown chapter. She was also an active member of the Mimbres branch LDS church.
Even later in life she was always up for anything; river rafting, camping, hiking and traveling across United States and the world with her children and grandchildren fed her ever-present sense of adventure.
She made fast friends with everyone she encountered and enjoyed the little things in life - spending time with the people she loved, eating good food and gardening. Her friend Jerry Billings said she could make a broomstick grow. She is survived by her husband of almost 71 years, her two children, eight grandchildren, three great grandchildren, two aunts, eleven nieces and four nephews; all of whom are better for having had her in their lives.
She will be cremated and there will not be a services so in lieu of flower we are asking for you to make a contribution in her memory to your favorite charity.
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