Active Life is Key for Nonogenarian
At 91, Vernice Evans may be one of western Wisconsin's best examples of someone living a life of vitality.
"I think staying active and having a lot of friends helps you stay healthy," she said. "I've had my share of health issues, but I've kept going."
Evans has been the front desk receptionist at the New Richmond News for more than 18 years and she still comes in several days a week to greet customers, proofread and answer phones.
"At least people have stopped asking me when I am going to retire," Evans said with a laugh. "Because the answer is 'never.'"
The nonogenarian also keeps a busy schedule outside of work, singing in the First Lutheran Church choir and playing bridge with two different groups.
Evans can also be found at the New Richmond Golf Club on nice days teeing it up for a round with her friends.
"It's good exercise," she said. "And it's just a lot of fun."
Evans began playing golf when she was in high school, getting hooked on the sport after her father introduced her to it.
After marrying Klayton Evans in 1942, and getting through the World War II years, Evans and her family moved to New Richmond in 1949. It didn't take long for the couple to join the New Richmond Golf Club. Evans has been a member for more than 60 straight years.
Evans continued to play in the club's women's league until last year. Now she plays when the weather is pleasant and her former teammates are available.
Evans, who travels to Hawaii each winter, even hits the links when she's visiting her kids.
"Everyone in our family really likes golf," she said. "Every July, we even have a golf outing and all my relatives play."
Born in Paynesville, Minn., Evans lived in Excelsior, Minn. for a time before moving with her husband to New Richmond. Klayton operated the Shell Station for many years, then he ran the Oldsmobile dealership in town for some time. Vernice did the bookkeeping for those businesses in the evenings.
Klayton worked at Johnson Motors for about 13 years after selling the family business.
Vernice stayed at home to raise children prior to taking a job as a secretary at Doughboy Industries Inc. (now Domain Inc.) in 1960.
"Back then, men could smoke at their desks and women couldn't," she recalled with a laugh. "They had so many strict rules. I suppose they were good."
Evans worked there for 34 years, spending many of her early years booking travel itineraries for salespeople and customers of the local company. Evans had to travel a lot herself to check out the various locations prior to booking.
"That's why I don't travel a lot now," she said. "When I traveled with Doboy Feeds, it was all first class. I couldn't afford to travel like that now."
Evans eventually attained the position of advertising manager.
After she retired from Domain Inc., Evans stopped in to talk to friend and then-New Richmond News publisher Mike Burke. Burke offered Evans a job on the spot.
"They needed someone part time," she said. "I kind of filled in where ever they needed me."
Because of her long history in New Richmond, Evans has become the resident expert at the News. Whenever a reporter has a question about someone in the community, Evans is usually able to identify the individual, their close relatives and a good portion of their professional resumes.
"I really enjoy it," Evans said of her ongoing job at the newspaper.