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LeAnn Evans 1943 – 2024

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, March 11, 2024, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Wadena, MN. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery in Wadena, MN.
LeAnn Marie (Fink) Evans (81) passed away on March 4, 2024, after a long battle with cancer. She was born on January 19, 1943, in Sisseton, South Dakota, to Ben and Esther (Dinger) Fink. LeAnn grew up in Cooperstown, ND, graduating in 1961. She attended NDSU majoring in Vocational Home Economics for three years, but was sidetracked for a few years getting married, having two children, living in both Oregon and Virginia before returning to NDSU to finish and graduate with her teaching degree. She enjoyed teaching and learning, and in 1993, she earned an M.S. in Adult Education from Bemidji State University.
In 1971, LeAnn returned with her two daughters (Paige and Valerie Shreeve) to Cooperstown, ND, where she taught High School Home Economics. LeAnn was innovative as an educator, starting the first sewing class for boys in that community, where the boys could create outdoor equipment, such as tents, sleeping bags and parkas from kits ordered from Frostline Kits in Colorado. Some would think that boys might be difficult to teach in a sewing course, but LeAnn found them to be delightfully mischievous, such as the time the boys baked one young man’s wallet in the oven for an entire class period, announcing when the bell rang, that wallet was “done”. Another time, during a severe blizzard, LeAnn, the teacher living closest to the school, was enlisted to brave the elements and cross the street, tied by a rope to check to make sure the furnace was working. She thought that was an excellent adventure.
Other career endeavors included teaching in Elbow Lake/Barrett, MN and managing Northwest Fabric Stores throughout the Midwest. In 1982, LeAnn and her girls moved to Wadena, where LeAnn took an educator/4-H position with the University of Minnesota Extension Office. She enjoyed this job immensely until retirement in 2003. Highlights of her career in Extension involved the yearly chaperoning of the Wadena 4-H kids to the State Fair, where she insisted on staying on the 3rd Floor of the 4H building with 300 kids, because “if it was good enough for the kids, it was good enough for the chaperones.” When it came to Homemakers Groups, she devised innovative lessons, including a memorable lesson on how to use beans to make fudge. She was always available to help any member of the community with gardening, canning, cooking, and sewing dilemmas.
While living in Wadena, LeAnn met Elroy Evans, and in 1992, they were united in marriage. They lived for many years on County Road 4, before moving into town. They were very happily married for 32 years. In retirement, she and Elroy spent three months every winter in Texas, where she was active in several groups, including the Quilting Club and the Red Hats Group. In Texas, she loved eating at Dirty Al’s, visiting Mexico, but most of all, she loved spending time with her Texas friends, especially Elaine. LeAnn also loved to travel and went on several trips to Europe, and one trip to Japan.
LeAnn was active in Wadena with Partners for a Healthy Wadena/Depot, Extension Study Groups, Quilt Clubs and St. Ann’s Catholic Church. She was the first woman invited to join the Wadena Rotary Club, and the first woman to serve as its president.
LeAnn is survived by her husband, Elroy; daughters Paige Shreeve (Mike Zender), San Antonio, TX, and Valerie (Jeff) Westerholm, Billings, MT; grandchildren: Taylor Welle, St. Peter, and Chandler Welle, Maple Grove; step-children Deb Brauch, Verndale, Dean (Christy) Evans, Corcoran; DeAnn Evans (Robin Rautio), Menahga, and David (Missy) Evans, Wadena; step-grandchildren David and Dan Brauch, and Sarah Packard, Holden and Tanner Rautio, Chase and McKenna Evans, Mason and Kendra Evans and several great-grandchildren; brother, Ben (Linda) Fink, Wahpeton, ND; and four nieces and two nephews. Preceding LeAnn in death are her parents, Ben and Esther Fink, and sister Lois Mae Curtis.
Arrangements with the Schuller Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Wadena, MN. Online condolences may be left at

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