Evelyn Anderton

Obituary of Evelyn Anderton

Evelyn Anderton, a Eugene resident for the past forty-seven years, passed away September 2nd, 2023. Born in San Francisco, June 19, 1946, the first girl in a family of six, she is preceded in death by brothers Peter, John, and Kit. She is survived by the love of her life, her wife, Janet Anderson, together 37 years, and her two sisters, Mary and Joan.  She earned a degree in English from U.C. Berkeley and throughout her life was a visionary in helping professions.


Early in her career she taught daily living and job skills in programs for developmentally disabled adults. She was the Executive Director of Womenspace and proudly founded the Domestic Violence Council that brought the District Attorney and Law Enforcement Leaders together in creating strategies that would stop violence against women. She was president of the statewide Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. At Sheltercare, she worked to raise funds for the community mentally ill and homeless populations. With compassion and grace throughout her professional life, she occupied diverse leadership positions in human service organizations.


Evelyn was an activist. She marched for peace and justice and women’s rights. She was a local leader of Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament and demonstrated against nuclear weapons at the test site in Nevada. Equally important, she was a feminist. In her closet is a treasured yellow t-shirt from 1982 with a women’s symbol in the center and the words: “Women Take Back the Night! Statewide March”


She was a Dancer! In the Eugene Celebration Parade, she boogeyed down the streets with her Womenspace comrades belting “Stop in the Name of Love” while twirling a corded phone around her head in perfect rhythm.


After retirement she lent her experience and knowledge to a variety of significant causes. She served as a Good Samaritan Minister at First Christian Church. Her goal was to listen, to help homeless residents navigate the system or sometimes just to make them laugh. She was also President of the Boards of Rape Crisis Network, BRING Recycling, First Christian Church, and Community Supported Shelter.


She was an author with two books under her belt. The second, Walk Out the Door with co-writer Pearl Wolfe, was presented in domestic violence educational book readings all over the Eugene area, winning awards in the process.


Evelyn dearly loved kids! In the 1990’s she taught a now-famous artist, Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith, using paint-by-numbers to generate and develop early creative interests. Evy loved being an Auntie and was known to several of her nieces and nephews as “The Giant Ant.”


She was adventurous . . . like the time at age fifty-four she decided to take a Dressage Class and discovered the rest of the students were fifteen years-old and younger. That age gap did not deter Evelyn from coming in first at the show competition.


Evelyn and Janet loved to explore the world, visiting the USSR, China, Iran, and other countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe. She and Janet also hosted visitors in their Eugene home, including third world guests with disabilities eagerly learning leadership skills to take back to their own country. Along with international students studying at UO and refugees from Afghanistan, they even occasionally hosted professional opera singers!


Evelyn was understanding and respectful, a marvelous listener. It was not uncommon for folks with differing opinions to change their minds after being “listened to” by Ev. 


Evelyn Anderton was deeply kind and joyful. Her legion of friends knew her as wise and thoughtful with an ever-ready smile, her laughter delighting others and a healing balm soothing difficult situations. Every day we spent with her was inspiring.


As Gail Winterman said, “Evelyn was so widely known in our community for many years, and we will all mourn the loss of an elder who helped make Eugene what it is today.” 


Marlene Drescher echoed that, adding, “Evelyn’s good works will continue in our community long after her passing, though our hearts are broken by her loss.” 


A Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday, September 27, 5:00 pm at Ragozzino Performance Hall, Lane Community College Main Campus. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to Womenspace (aka: Hope and Safety Alliance), P.O. Box 50127, Eugene, OR.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Evelyn Anderton, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration of Life

5:00 pm
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Ragozzino Performance Hall
Lane Community College Main Campus
Eugene, Oregon, United States
Share Your Memory of