Wife, mother, grandmother but most of all -a good friend, Evelyn Kathleen (Baird) Bentley, 70, a woman full of love, joy, and laughter passed the morning of the 28th of April, 2023.  A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 4:00 PM on Thursday, May 4, 2023 at First Baptist Church in Bridgeport with Pastor Ray Cook officiating.  In honoring of Evelyn’s wishes, this gathering will be a party to celebrate her life, not a funeral service; bright colored attire is requested.  Cremation has been held and there will be no visitation.  Services will be livestreamed on the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel Facebook page and recorded for later viewing on our website. 

Memorials may be given to the family for a designation at a later date.

You may view Evelyn’s Book of Memories, leave condolences, photos and stories at www.gehrigstittchapel.com.  Gehrig-Stitt Chapel & Cremation Service, LLC is in charge of Evelyn’s care and funeral arrangements.

Evelyn was born to A. L. “Bus” and Beth E. (Wertz) Baird in Scottsbluff, Nebraska on October 17, 1952. She attended school in a one room school house through 8th grade. At the age of 14, her daddy bought her her first horse, who served as her best friend for the next several years. She attended high school at Bayard high school, graduating as Valedictorian in 1971. Evelyn was always a book worm, her first REAL job when she was 16, was working at the Bayard Public Library. 

One night at the Morrill County rodeo grounds, she met Ron Bentley. Four, short, fun-filled months later, she married the love of her life on January 8, 1972 at the Presbyterian Church in Bayard. That day was windy and wild, nonetheless the two celebrated at the Koala Club in Minatare with not a care in the world but for each other.  This union would endure for over 50 years.

Evelyn attended nursing school at Western Nebraska General Hospital (class of 1974), gaining knowledge about what would become one of her life passions. She enjoyed nursing, but most importantly, the opportunities it gave her to learn new things, and to teach others. 5 years after completing nursing school, Cassie was born & 22 months later, Amber joined the family. The family of four enjoyed spending time together; exploring the Black Hills, fishing, camping with Connie, Paul, Dee, and Corey, driving through the Rocky Mountains and so much more. Evelyn and the girls made many annual trips to visit Drinda and her family with the 12-hour drive filled with lots of chats and audio books. While in Oklahoma, Drinda and Evelyn would inevitably find some home improvement project to start, but not finish in its entirety. 

After 43 years of nursing, Evelyn retired in 2017. She then filled her days with many trips to visit grandchildren and family, traveling the US with Ron, making pounds and pounds of caramels, putting together puzzles, playing cards with friends/family, fishing, and of course reading and napping. She was always up for an adventure and even agreed to visit NYC with Cassie and family. The summer of 2019 she fulfilled one of her bucket list items and rented a houseboat on Table Rock Lake where she, Ron, and their family spent an amazing week fishing, exploring, eating, reading, and simply enjoying each other’s company. 

She filled the world with joy, love, good memories, and was always a safe place. In all aspects of her life she cared for others, in her career, throughout motherhood, and in her community. Evelyn was a caretaker. She prioritized others before herself and had a level of understanding that many people do not possess. Anyone who knew Evelyn, knew of her kindness. Her faith guided her life. She was a prayer warrior and loved the Lord. She never passed up a game of cards, always accompanied by an extra-large Diet Pepsi, some chocolate, but most importantly the rule book.

Evelyn was a winner, fair and square, making sure everyone played by the rules. She was also a teacher, never missing the opportunity to teach someone a new game, recipe, or a new way to think about life. Similar to the bright colors and butterflies she simply admired, she too was lovely, energizing, and lit up the world with her beautiful eyes and unending love. Evelyn enjoyed many naps, often curled up with blankets, a vest on, and accompanied by a good book. She was a well-practiced multi-tasker, often out-fishing Ron at every lake they explored, while simultaneously exploring fictional romances through the binding of many books.

Evelyn is survived by her husband Ronald L. Bentley of Bayard; daughters Cassie Cowles and her husband Russ of Omaha, NE and Amber Gardner of Winchester, IL; sister and brother-in-law Connie and Paul York of Georgia; grandchildren:  Dakota Gardner, Alexis Cowles, Ronald Bentley, Harper Cowles, and Bella Jones); in-laws whom she considered family:  Dale and Tracy Bentley of Bayard, Jody and Frank Strong of Gering, Terry and Pam Bentley of Lincoln, and Penny and Cary Hoxworth of Bridgeport; several nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents, in-laws Marvin and Reatha Bentley, and sister Drinda Fuss.

Evelyn was an opinionated soul, which was one of her many strengths. She was ornery, causing multitudes of laughter. She never passed up her game shows or extra buttery popcorn. She enjoyed spending time with her family above all else. She demonstrated her love for her friends and family in many ways: quilts, caramels, toffee, and hugs. Her presence was constant, and so was her laughter. She was always a jokester, and brought light to every situation. She lives on in brain boggling puzzles, pages of books unread, black licorice, hollow chocolate Easter bunnies, extra buttered popcorn, holiday outfits, blue and purple eyeshadow, and in all of her family and friends who she imprinted upon greatly.