Evelyn Mearl Harryman April 3, 1919 - January 4, 2018
Evelyn Mearl Harryman, from Groesbeck, passed away Thursday, January 4, 2018 at Royal Manor Nursing Home in Waco, at age 98.
Funeral services were held on Sunday, January 7, 2018, at the Church on the Rock, Groesbeck, with Pastor Sonny Bever officiating, and music by Mrs. Ginger Fritz.
Pallbearers were Bradley Harryman, Daniel McCarver, Taylor Hobbs, Corey Bass, Josh Caldwell, and Gavin Bass.
Evelyn was born April 3, 1919 in Bonham, Texas to George H. Eller and Lou Irene (Odom) Eller. She was the middle child of nine, with four older and four younger siblings. She attended school in Rockport and upon graduating, attended business school in Corpus Christi.
In Corpus she worked at a furniture store and met Merle Harryman while walking past his auto parts store. Evelyn and Merle Dale Harryman were united in marriage May 20, 1939. After their marriage, they lived with his parents in a 3-story boarding house across from the Alamo in San Antonio. While Merle served in World War II in Australia, Evelyn worked in San Antonio at a furniture store.
They eventually moved to San Marcos where they had an 1100 acre ranch. They moved from San Marcos to Mexia in 1951 and had a ranch across from the State School. Mr. Harryman decided he needed an income with them expecting a baby, Linda- after thirteen years of marriage, and bought the Duke and Ayres store in Mexia. Evelyn worked at the First National Bank in Mexia, for seventeen years, then took time off work to raise her children. They family moved to Groesbeck in 1956. While a homemaker, Evelyn was always industrious in making extra money for Christmas or other needs, and she cooked donuts at home for workers in the Courthouse (earning the nickname of “Donut”) and also made and sold fruitcakes at Christmas time. They owned Harryman’s Variety and Wholesale Business in Groesbeck, and Evelyn took daughter Kathy with her on frequent road trips selling candy to convenience stores. She sewed all of Linda’s clothes, and went back to work at Farmers State Bank in Groesbeck when the children were a little older, although she came home at noon every day to cook the family’s lunch. Around 1970, Evelyn had a business in Wortham – the Tasty Mart, which Kathy helped her operate. She added flowers and plants to the business, and then Mr. Harryman added a convenience store to the building.
Evelyn first attempted retiring in 1982, when she was 62 years old, but was not willing to stay retired, and in 1983, she went to work for Delma Hamilton at her fried-chicken business. She always wanted her own restaurant, so before long she bought the business. She “allowed” Mr. Harryman, an early riser, to open up the restaurant at 3:30 in the morning, and Dr. Riggs was also given a key; they made the first pots of coffee until the cooks arrived. Holloway Martin, among other men knew they could get an early cup of coffee there before going to their businesses. Then Mrs. Harryman served the “real food” to many customers through the years. At one time, she also prepared meals to send to the prisoners in the jail at Groesbeck while it was being renovated. In her seventies, Evelyn decided to retire from the chicken business and work on her life-long goal. She attended Christ for the Nations Bible School in Dallas, where she lived on campus and passionately loved every minute of her four years in college. While at the Bible College, she took over the cooking in the cafeteria. While earning her four-year degree, she made many mission trips. She made 5 trips to Israel – with her daughter Linda accompanying her on the last trip in 2000. She smuggled bibles into China, where she did get caught and her Bibles were confiscated. She had no personal fear during that or any other times, although the family was afraid for her. She volunteered for mission work in the inner city prison in Dallas, and witnessed to prisoners in Jamaica who were housed in horrible conditions, but again she had no fear. She did not know how to rest. Not accepting retirement, she reopened the Chicken business in Groesbeck and she also owned rent houses in Groesbeck and Waco. Even when she eventually retired from public cooking, her family remembers her great cooking for them, especially her cornbread and rum cakes. In her eighties, she still “wished” she could open another restaurant.
Her family was important to her, and through the years she took a two-week vacation during the first week of August to spend in Rockport with her siblings.
Evelyn had a heart for giving, especially to support missionary work. She was loved by everyone, and appreciated by the staff while she lived in the Nursing Home. In spite of all her public and missionary works during her lifetime, she told the Social Worker in the Nursing Home her only career had been as a housewife, which showed how much she cherished her memory of her home and family. Mrs. Harryman was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Merle in 1990; and all eight of her siblings.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Jimmy and Jill Harryman of Groesbeck; daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Luke Reasoner of Waco; daughter, Kathy Willhoite of Waco; and daughter, Glenda Easley of San Antonio.
The grandchildren are: Bradley and Courtney Harryman of Groesbeck; Ashley and Josh Caldwell of Halletsville; Rachel and Taylor Hobbs of Waco; Rebekah and Corey Bass of China Spring; Daniel and Tiffany McCarver of Riesel; Sheila and Mike Wilson of Gatesville; Daniel Easley of San Antonio; Sheri Easley of San Antonio; and Robert Easley of New Jersey; and there are also numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Evelyn's name to Mission Waco via their website, www.missionwaco.org.
Visit www.groesbeckfuneralhome.com to leave messages of condolence on the guestbook.