Born Evelyn Smith in Odell, Texas, around 1911 to country school teachers, J.P. Smith and wife Ola Downing Smith, Evelyn lost her mother at birth, leaving Evelyn and her sister Madelle under the care of relatives notably Uncle Jim Downing and his wife while her father recovered from the loss and earned a living.
In 1928 the family moved from Vernon to Lubbock, where J.P. Smith sold West Texas real estate until retiring from ill health in the late 1940s.
Evelyn graduated from Lubbock High School in 1929 and worked for her father as notary public, typist and stenographer, taking a job with State Senator Parish's office in Austin during WWII. She attended law classes in Austin and took the bar exam, but was never admitted to practice. That did not prevent her from drawing up wills and deeds.
Evelyn was a notary public for nearly 80 years, taking acknowledgments for her attorney son when past 100, writing always in angular legible print.
November 11, 1950, she married Lewis Britton Keith in Clovis, NM. They had one child before separating. From the early 1950s she took a variety of jobs supporting her invalid father and son, struggling to make ends meet. She remarried twice and was divorced three times. She retired in her late 70s, and at the urging of LHS '29 classmate Hiley Boyd, volunteered for some years as a docent at the Ranching Heritage Center, wearing an altered dress of her mother's dating from around 1910.
She is survived by her son, B. Keith of Lubbock and his step- and adopted children, a niece, Lee Ola Carr of San Antonio, and by nephews John Cowan late of Henderson, Nevada, and Will Cowan of Boulder, Colorado.
Graveside services are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Friday, April 21, 2017 at Grassland Cemetery.