Evelyn Winfree Drewry Brett

Evelyn Winfree Drewry was born on August 23, 1919 on the family farm near Drewryville, Virginia, the second child and only daughter of Harry Moss and Eunice Adna Edwards Drewry. Shortly following her birth the family moved to Boykins, Virginia, just a few short miles from where she was born. There she attended grade school and graduated from Boykins High School in 1937. Following her graduation from high school she attended Farmville Women's College for a short time. Forced to return home because of illness, she never returned.

On December 27, 1940 she married Arthur C. Brett of Murfreesboro, North Carolina. Arthur, a welder and pipefitter by trade, and Evelyn lived in Baltimore, Maryland and Norfolk, Virginia for several years before returning to Murfreesboro in 1947 where Arthur and his father, George Allen Brett, operated a plumbing and heating business. While business appeared to be good for Arthur and his father they had problems collecting moneys owed them and the business was closed in 1953. Arthur was forced to seek employment out of the immediate area and Evelyn and the children moved to a small apartment in Boykins, Virginia.

In 1954 Arthur found employment in New Jersey and the family moved from Boykins to an apartment in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. The family stayed in Elmwood Park until 1963 when they purchased a house and moved to Fair Lawn. Arthur spent many years working as a steam- and pipefitter where he was exposed to asbestos in the workplace. His health began to deteriorate toward the end of 60's and early 70's. After years of repeated hospitalization for respiratory problems and a back injury sustained on the job Arthur was forced to retire in 1973 on a meager pension. Seeking a more economical way of life Arthur and Evelyn returned to Boykins, Virginia in 1976. There they built a new home and began again.

No longer in the hustle and bustle of metropolitan New York they had to readjust to the rural pace of small town country life. There were advantages and disadvantages to being in small town America. Arthur became interested in collecting antiques and visited the many local antique shops and auctions, and he took pride in a rather large and productive garden that he planted. Evelyn found herself back home surrounded by many of her childhood friends. They enjoyed their new home and life in Boykins, but both missed being in New Jersey, and Arthur's doctors and lawyers were all located in New Jersey. They would make frequent trips to New Jersey to visit their family when Arthur had scheduled doctor and lawyer appointments.

After years of deteriorating health Arthur passed away on August 30, 1988 and Evelyn, now alone, continued to live in Boykins. She preferred having her own home and controlling her own destiny to living with and being dependent on one of her children. After Arthur died Evelyn continued the frequent visits to New Jersey. Often her stays would last from several weeks to months depending on the weather. Her Christmas visits were the longest. She would come two weeks before Christmas and stay until the winter weather had pretty much subsided, sometimes until March if the winter was particularly severe. While she longed to return home to her normal routine I know she enjoyed her time in New Jersey. It was much different than being in Boykins.

In her later years Evelyn was dependent on a walker to get around. She suffered from severe arthritis which necessitated a hip replacement in 1997. It was difficult for her to get around and almost impossible for her to do the normal things one must do to maintain and manage a house, but she managed. With help from her family she was able to maintain herself in her own home until she passed away on September 7, 1999 at her home. She had just returned home from spending the summer in New Jersey on August 28th. There she was laid to rest with Arthur at Beechwood Cemetery on September 11, 1999.

That last summer Evelyn celebrated her 80th birthday surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on August 23rd. It was a time enjoyed by all and a memory that will last a life time. The pictures below were taken at the party.

Evelyn on her 80th birthday
August 23, 1999
with her children
Carol Paige and Artie

Evelyn with two of her three grandchildren, Scott and Jeannette, and her two youngest great-grandchildren, Niko and Alyssa.

Evelyn and her great-grandchildren:
Granddaughter Jeannette holding Alyssa, age 2, Christopher, age 7, Niko, age 18 months and Anthony John, age two months. Paulie, an honorary nephew, age 14.
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