Susan “Blanche” Even was born the 8th child of Frank and Susan Even of Humboldt, SD on July 28, 1929 and passed away calmly January 19th at Prince of Peace Nursing Home with her dear friend JoAnn “Kootch” Kutilek, Avera Hospice and APOP Staff by her side.
Her parents, 5 brothers and 2 sisters moved to Sioux Falls in 1937 and she attended school at the Cathedral, graduating from High School in 1947. There were no sporting events for girls in school during the 40’s, Blanche’s extracurricular activities included being a majorette for the school “Pep Squad”.
Upon graduation, Blanche worked at Crescent Electric Supply for 2 years and then joined Electric Construction Company in 1951, working there and with the later renamed retail division, Mahlander’s Appliance and Lighting, for 44 years, retiring in 1995.
Perhaps South Dakota’s greatest women’s fast pitch softball player in the 1950’s and 1960’s, a humble Blanche Even often reminisced of the “good old days”. Blanche started League Softball when she was a “young” 21 year old, extending her sports career for 24 years, until 1974. Her first team sponsor was KIHO, with several others following and the last being Locke Auto Electric. During this period, Blanche and her teammates went to 2 National World Tournaments. The first was in 1953 in Toronto, Canada and the second in Stratford, Connecticut during the summer of 1967.
While playing shortstop, Blanche was a member of 13 State Softball Championships and earned All-State honors eleven times. In 1962 Blanche was sidelined with a broken ankle while sliding into 3rd base, however this did not halt her team involvement; she continued with coaching duties and resumed her field position the following year.
In 1973 Blanche was inducted into the South Dakota Fast Pitch Hall of Fame and also considered her selection thirty-two years later, to the 2005 South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and the O’Gorman Cathedral 2006 Alumni Hall of Fame for Excellence in Athletics all great honors!
In the 1950’s, Blanche and her treasured friend, Nona Colwill, were proprietors of the “Cotton Pickin’ Inn” concession stand at the ball diamonds, selling pop, candy, cigars and popcorn made by her Mother. She was also part owner of the EKR Bar in Tabor, SD for 9 years starting in 1981 and always loved a good game of poker!
Those grateful for having shared her life include her sister Audrey “Tootie” Speers, Boise, ID; numerous nieces and nephews she enjoyed spending time with; special friends JoAnn “Kootch” Kutilek, and Kevin & Karen O’Connor; and many dear acquaintances from California, including Nona Colwill, and many countless friends. Blanche was preceded in death by her 5 brothers, Bill, Mike, Ralph, Carl and Dan; a sister, Naomi; nephews Jim Staebell, Tom Staebell, Ed Even and Billy Even; and niece Marilyn Even.
A special thank-you to Avera Prince of Peace Nursing Home and the Avera Hospice Program for all the friendship and compassion over the past 6 years.
Visitation begins at 9:00 am Friday January 22, with family greeting friends from 5:00-7:00 pm with a scripture service at 6:30 pm at Miller Funeral Home, 507 S. Main Ave. Mass of Christian burial will be said at 9:00 am Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Joseph with burial to follow at St. Michael Cemetery.