Evelyn Gorham

Obituary of Evelyn Agnes Gorham

Evelyn Agnes Filipovich Gorham died April 26, 2018 at her home in Riderwood Retirement Community in Silver Spring, Maryland. She was born June 6, 1918 in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, a small Polish-American community on the banks of the Hudson River. She learned first to speak Polish and then English when she started school. She retained her fluency in her native tongue up to the day she died. Evelyn was born to Polish immigrant parents, John Filipovich and Mary Pachuda, who had had emigrated from what is today Belarus. Her parents arrived some 6 to 7 years before her birth and she was born a year after their marriage. Two years later her brother, Albert John Phillips (he adopted the Americanization of his last name when he entered WWII), was born, and her sister Joanna Filipovich Sheedy was born another 2 years later. Evelyn remained in Hastings after graduating high school and worked for a few years in Yonkers at Otis Elevator Company. She also volunteered as a nurse's aide at a local hospital. Eventually, the war effort (and some friends from Hastings) led her to take a secretarial job in Washington, D.C., where she would meet and marry LTJG Don Cyril Gorham. Upon marriage, she became a full-time homemaker and continued at that job for the next 65 plus years. Evelyn met Don on a blind date in 1943 and they were married four months later at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Hastings on Hudson, NY. They enjoyed a honeymoon in Luray Caverns, Virginia. Theirs was a love that lasted a lifetime and ended only at Don's passing in 2011. Evelyn and Don's family moved quite a bit, most often to Japan where Don grew up and where his career with the Office of Naval Intelligence would assign him. Evelyn's first visit there was by ocean liner, arriving on Christmas Day 1949 with her then two-year old daughter, joining her husband who had gone ahead of her. Their only departure from living in Washington, Maryland and Japan was in 1966-67 when they lived in Newport, Rhode Island where Don graduated from the Naval War College. Evelyn loved flower arranging and was a member of Ikebana International and also two local garden clubs. She often took art classes and especially enjoyed watercolor painting, of which there are several examples of her work. She enjoyed creating other art forms and she was an accomplished dress maker. She especially enjoyed taking Japanese language classes. Evelyn had an excellent voice and loved to sing popular tunes and songs from musicals. She was selected on occasion to model, including the new uniform of Otis Elevator Company ca 1938 and for the Canon Camera Model III operator's manual published in 1951. Raised a Catholic, Evelyn always had a heart open toward God. In 1972 she made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and thereafter, she faithfully attended Montrose Baptist Church for twenty years, then Forcey Memorial, and finally Riderwood Village Chapel. She is lovingly remembered by her three surviving children: Christine (Don) Slater of Silver Spring, Maryland; Rev. John (Sherry) Gorham of Catonsville, Maryland; and Karen (Steve) Bailey of Charlottesville, Virginia. Her son Richard Reagan Gorham preceded her in death in 2002. She is also lovingly remembered by 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. A beautiful memorial service was held for her on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at Grace Bible Baptist Church in Catonsville, Maryland. Her ashes will be placed alongside those of her husband in Arlington National Cemetery
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