ENFIELD, N.H. — A memorial service will be held on Friday, Sept. 15 beginning at 1 p.m. at the Community Lutheran Church of Enfield for Evelyn J. Crate, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend who passed away on Sept. 7 at her home surrounded by her family. A graveside gathering will follow at Oak Grove Cemetery where Evelyn will be laid to rest along side her husband, Donald. A reception at the Enfield Community Building will follow. Calling hours will be held on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 4-7 p.m. at the Ricker Funeral Home, Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Evelyn was born on July 19, 1924, the third child of Mabel Gertrude Bennett and Elmer Martin Sanford.
She grew up in Randolph with her siblings, Elmer George Sanford and Elizabeth “Libby” Sanford Chamberlain, all who predeceased her.
Evelyn attended schools in Randolph. Her favorite class was math and her favorite sports were swimming, figure skating, and skiing. After graduating from high school, Evelyn worked for Vermont Telephone Company in Fairlee and Hartford. She also lived in Boston and worked for Raytheon.
She moved back to Randolph and later met and married Donald A. Crate of Lebanon, New Hampshire. They were married for 67 years at the time of Donald’s death in 2013. They were an inseparable couple and business partners who loved their ever-growing family.
After their marriage, the couple purchased the Mascoma Hotel (formerly the Webster House) on Main Street in Enfield. The two of them ran the hotel and a small grocery store while they began their family, which eventually grew to eight children. Six of their children still reside in Enfield. Many of their children followed in their parent’s footsteps in business and local community service.
Evelyn also supported her husband while he was Enfield’s volunteer Fire Chief for nearly 50 years. One of her main roles was to man the siren and answer phone calls from their home during each fire, typically happening in the middle of the night. Many in her family felt she was one of the first women on the Enfield Fire Department. For several years, she assisted the Supervisors of the Check List in Enfield.
While running the hotel and grocery store in Enfield, she and her husband started Don Crate General Trucking and later Don Crate & Sons Trucking and Excavating. Up until his passing, Evelyn worked with her husband running the trucking company. After his death, she continued to work with their sons Donald and David and grandsons Donald and Duane. Evelyn also managed several rental properties and continued to work in her office up until this past June when she became seriously ill.
In the 80’s and 90’s, Evelyn and Don spent winters in Zephyrhills, Florida, never completely retiring from their businesses in New Hampshire.
Evelyn was a strong woman. During the last three years of her life, she took over the business after her husband’s death, healed and rebounded from a compound fractured ankle, and battled cancer. Evelyn lived her life as a modern woman changing with the times. She stayed up on all the daily, local and regional news. Evelyn had her own Facebook page and spent time on her iPad searching Google for answers to questions, looking for old friends, and Skyping grandchildren in North Carolina.
Her family celebrates her long life and her ability to enjoy the time she was living in.
Evelyn was a true matriarch and her legacy was her family. She leaves behind eight children: Donna Wheeler (Phillip) of Sharon, Donald J. Crate, Sr. (Peggy), Richard A. Crate, Sr. (Patsy), Dianne Nelson (David), Deborah LaCroix (Robert), Dolores Struckhoff (John Kluge), David J. Crate, Sr. (Judy), all of Enfield, and Doreen Kelton of Westminster; 18 grandchildren: Tammy Pratson (Jim), Donald Crate, Jr. (Kelly), Denise Crate (Brian), Duane Crate (Darcie), Michael Muzzey, Angela Hancock (Tim), Michael Crate (Terri), Richard Crate, Jr., Alesha Depalo (Joe), Brett Nelson (Angelene), Beth Downing (David), Robert LaCroix, Ian Struckhoff, David Crate, Jr. (Wendie), Daniel Crate, Damara Crate, Elizabeth Kelton and Mallary Kelton; 18 great-grandchildren: Benjamin and Kyle Pratson, Ryan Crate, Taylor and Chloe Crate, Amanda and Megan Crate, Owen Crate, Chelsea and Joey DePalo, Lauren, Sarah, and Jacob Nelson, Rylie Downing, Jeffrey Martin and Jordan LaCroix, and David, III and Dawson Crate. She also leaves many nieces and nephews. Evelyn was particularly thankful to her nephew, Maurice Langley, who visited her every week.
Throughout Evelyn’s life, she had five best friends from High School. Evelyn maintained contact with them until her death. These friends were her connection to her life in Vermont. She treasured their friendships. Her family would like to thank Muriel Carpenter, Milly Cheney, Alberta Woods, Ann Eaton and Barbara Bonham for being such good friends throughout her life.
Flowers will be accepted at the Ricker Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Enfield Public Library Evelyn J. Crate Fund established to support senior library programs. Contributions may be sent to: Evelyn J. Crate Library Fund, PO Box 1030, Enfield, NH 03748. Although Evelyn read throughout her life, when family and time allowed, she didn’t get her first library card in Enfield until she was 90. She was very proud of this and enjoyed her many visits to the library.
Her family extends a special thank you to the staff of Bayada Home Health Care of Norwich, Vermont and Dr. Roshini Pinto-Powell at DHMC, for their support and compassion to Evelyn and her family during her final days.
Messages of condolence may be expressed with the family through an online guestbook by visitingwww.rickerfuneralhome.com.
This obituary will also appear in the September 14, 2017 edition of the Vermont Standard.
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