Evelynita “Evie” Welsh, passed away on January 31 at her home in Santa Rosa surrounded by loving family.
Funeral service will be held at Eggen & Lance Chapel on February 16 at 11:00 am.
Evie was born in Butler, PA to Annie Laurie & Alfred Jacob Gumpper who named her Evelynita on October 4, 1926.
Growing up in the Depression, the Gumpper family was full of music. Evie and her closest 3 siblings formed a signing quartet known as the 4 Gs while Evie was still in high school. They sang classic 4 part harmonies to the great songs of the early 1940’s and had a regular spot singing live on the local radio station.
After high school Evie moved to Washington D.C. to help in the war effort with the U.N. Relief Administration. She eventually met her first husband, Rolf Illsley. In 1951, she moved with him to Santa Rosa. They devoted all of their energies into building Rolf’s little company, Optical Coating Lab, into a sustainable and eventually thriving business.
From 1954 through 1958, Evie’s four children were born – Lisa, Roger, Linda and Mark.
By the early 1960’s, ice skating became the focus on the family and continued to play a large role for the rest of Evie’s life.
Evie remarried in 1972 and remained good friends with her second husband, Hal Welsh, even after they eventually divorced.
As her kids grew up and moved away, Evie returned to music. She sang and competed with the Sweet Adelines and eventually joined both the Community Church of Sebastopol’s singing and bell choirs.
Her lifelong passion for animals in distress meant more adopted cats, dogs, horses, burros and all other manner of animals in need.
She is survived by her children, Lisa Navarro, Roger Illsley, Linda Illsley and Mark Illsley, 10 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren with one more on the way.
No one who ever knew Evie will forget her wit and lively spirit, which never left her. She departed this world knowing she was well loved by everyone whose life she had touched.
Memorial donations may be made to Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County.
The family wishes to extend their gratitude to Eka Dumbadze and St. Joseph Memorial Hospice as well as so many who have provided friendship, comfort & support.