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Evan E. Black

Evan E Black, 12/14/1924 to 06/16/2022

Evan Elizabeth Black was born in Dallas, Texas to E.B. and Helen Bynum in 1924. She loved learning and attending school, graduating from Highland Park High School at age 16.  

Evan married at the young age of 17, having her first of four children only a year later. She chose to put off college until well into her first marriage, instead working full-time while her first husband served in the Navy during WWII and later attended engineering college. While still living in Dallas after graduating from high school she worked for Braniff Airlines for some years; taught English to Spanish-speaking children in the Rio Grande Valley; and later taught Spanish and science at Lamar Jr. High in Austin while also working for a local groundwater engineering firm. She would remain lifelong friends with the company’s owner and family. Despite the challenges of working full-time and raising four spirited children (two boys and two girls), Evan continued studies at the University of Texas, completing a Master’s Degree in Library Science in her 40’s. Thereafter she began a career in library science, working for many years as faculty with the library systems at both UT-Austin and the California State University System.

Evan married three times in her life: Marshall Parten (father of her four children); Gene White, to whom she was introduced by Austin neighbors following her divorce from Marshall, knowing they’d be a good match; and in 1986 she married Cliff Black, whom she met at the Unitarian Church in Pasadena, California.  She and Cliff later moved to Portland, Oregon, where they spent 30 wonderful years together until Cliff’s death. Cliff’s children continue to treasure those years with Evan as their stepmother, along with their children and grandchildren.  After losing Cliff, Mom found a fourth love with Len Greger, to whom she remained devoted until his death at their Portland assisted living campus. 

Evan was born Betty Jeanne Bynum; later Betty Jeanne Parten; then Betty Jeanne White, the name by which she’s known to most long-time friends in Austin. She was never that fond of her birth name, so when marrying Cliff in California she decided to change her entire name to Evan Elizabeth Black.  

Evan is survived by her sons Michael F. Parten and Stephen C. Parten, and her daughter Susan M. Parten, and was pre-deceased by her daughter Elizabeth H. Parten, her husbands Marshall and Gene, her husband Cliff and his daughter Margery Jo. She leaves behind many close friends and extended family members too numerous to list, including Cliff Black’s daughters Berta, Ellen and Janice and their families; Len Greger’s daughter Gay Greger, her husband Jim Sjulin and their family.  

Despite her final last name change from “White” to “Black”, Evan seemed to gain through her life and experiences a very rich understanding of “the grays”. She grew up seeing the hardships of the Great Depression, and later WWII, with those experiences having lifelong imprints on her thinking and values. She was among the hardest working persons most of us will ever know, and understood the struggles women fought and still fight professionally long before those struggles gained national attention.  She understood suffering and sacrifices when situations call upon or demand that of us. When things got tough in life she never looked around for something or someone to blame, she just looked forward, figuring out next steps, always being a “glass-half-full person”. She will evermore be an inspiration in these regards. 

Evan loved this earth and was constantly concerned for its good care and stewardship. She worried about those without the good fortune and means to live safely and with basic needs met. She was passionate about education, and our collective need to stay engaged in meaningful civil discourse, striving for positive change when it’s needed for the common good.  Her wish would be for each of us to do all we can every day toward these things in whatever ways possible given the particular circumstances of our lives, and to care about each other, whether friend, family or stranger. 

Due to the continued pandemic and challenges with gathering extended family together over long distances, celebration of Evan’s life will be held among friends and family informally for now, with future notification made for any larger gathering planned.

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