MaryBeth Evans passed away to peace on October 15, 2019 at the age of 102. She was born in Andover, Missouri, July 16, 1917 to James William Carpenter and Catherine Carpenter. She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Gerald D. Evans, her sisters Norma Harper, Fern Beardsley, Jean Murdock, her brothers Mack, Cliff, Lewis, and William Carpenter, and her son Harold Gatton. Surviving her are her children Jewell Evans and Jeffrey Evans (wife Dixie Evans), her grandchildren Sara Miller (David), Emily Shepard (Michael), Tracy Gatton, and Sherry Ann Gatton, two great-grandchildren John Derek Miller and John Shepard, two sisters-in-law, Jimmie Carpenter and Liz Carpenter, brother-in-law, Alva Murdock, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was married on Christmas Eve in 1944 in Andover, Missouri. She was a member of the Community of Christ Church for which she developed children’s Sunday School curriculum used church wide.
MaryBeth was a graduate of Ridgeway, Missouri High School, Graceland College, AA degree, Northwest Missouri State, BA degree, University of Iowa, MA degree, and Wayne State University with an Ed.D. degree. Most of her life was spent in teaching starting with being a K-8 teacher in a two-room school house (Coats School) from 1937-1941. She also taught at Maryville, Missouri elementary from 1942-44 while obtaining her BA degree, was elementary teacher and principal at Lamoni Elementary from 1945-1951, and taught elementary school in Cedar Rapids while attending the University of Iowa to obtain her Master’s degree. She then began her long career in higher education teaching at Graceland College (University) from 1953 until 1988 (with a break to obtain her Ed.D. at Wayne State University in Detroit from 1959 to 1961). While at Graceland, she was Director of Teacher Education where she was an innovator in requiring early practicum experiences, instituting a requirement for both rural and urban teaching experiences. During her tenure, she also developed a summer lab school that operated for 17 years with beyond the classroom, real world, enrichment experiences and directed study abroad experiences in England during Graceland’s 1-month winter term semesters for 7 years. Graceland recently named their Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning after MaryBeth Evans and her colleague Mary Jean Jeanae.
After retiring from Graceland University, MaryBeth began teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi where she was a Curriculum and Instruction Faculty member for more than 28 years. She taught courses in early childhood education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She also presented at many national and international education conferences. Throughout her long career in education, she was well loved and respected by her students.
She was active in service activities including, Optimist International Hattiesburg, MS, President and Vice-President, Optimist International South Mississippi Zone Lt. Governor, President Iowa State Education Association, Member of Association of Childhood Education International since 1945. She has also received numerous awards including, Graceland University Distinguished Service Award; the Mississippi “Love of Learning” Blue Cross- Blue Shield Ageless Hero Award; MSREA - Historical Contributions Award; Optimist Club - Partner in Education Award; and a Service Award from USM College of Education and Psychology Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Her travels around the world were numerous, often to places where her daughter was representing the US Department of State. MaryBeth’s travels included Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Spain, England, France, Italy, Haiti, Cuba, Canada, Mexico, and even Alaska by Ferry Boat.
The Mississippi visitation will be at Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from 5 pm to 7 pm on Friday, October 18, 2019. The second visitation will be at the Andover, Missouri, Community of Christ Church at 10 am on Thursday, October 24, 2019. followed by the funeral at the church at 11 am with assistance of the Slade-O’Donnell Funeral Home. Burial will be in the nearby Andover Community Cemetery.