Cremation has taken place. A private family celebration of life will be held at 11:00AM on Saturday May 27, 2023 at Wiebe Funeral Chapel, Morden with service of committal at Hillside Cemetery, Morden. In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, donations can be made to Manitoba Softball, 145 Pacific Avenue, Wpg. R3B 2Z6 in Evelyne’s name.
Ragnheidur Evelyne Holenski (nee Olafson)
February 8, 1935 – April 15, 2023
Peacefully on April 15, 2023, Evelyne passed away at the Grace Hospital at the age of 88.
Evelyne was born a tiny, premature baby, to Icelandic immigrant parents Haldor B. Olafson and Kristbjorg Helgason. She was raised in the tightly knit Icelandic community of Brown, often known as 1-6, which was nestled in the Pembina Hills south of Morden, Manitoba, touching on the US border.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 67 years, Roy. Evelyne was predeceased by her parents, her brother, Lorne (Buddy), and her sister, Doreen Webber, numerous brother and sisters-in-law, and one nephew. She will be sadly missed by her sister-in-law, Dorothy Klowak as well as many nieces, nephews and their families.
Born into humble circumstances during the Great Depression, she learned early the importance of hard work. This work ethic was to become her trademark as it encompassed all she did throughout her lifetime. Icelandic-proud and Viking-strong, she realized the importance of education. She worked diligently at odd jobs to help pay for High School and Normal School, graduating with a teaching certificate at age 17. Education was lifelong pursuit for her. While teaching full-time, she completed her BA and MA, taking summer and night courses. She embarked on a rewarding 39-year teaching career: 3 years in the country schools of Debonair and Deer Creek, and 36 years with Winnipeg School Division #1 at Earl Grey and Harrow. She was a well-respected educator, coach, and mentor, inspiring generations of students with the energy and determination familiar to all who knew her. She served and played a leading role on numerous committees and boards. In 1956 Evelyne married Roy Holenski and together, for almost 67 years, they shared a love, friendship, work ethic and partnership seldom seen in one’s lifetime. Together they embarked on a 40-year span in coaching, managing, and building the sport of women’s softball. As visionaries they influenced its development from the grass roots to the elite level. Their lives embodied the true spirit of volunteerism, compassion, advocacy, and philanthropy.
Evelyne has been the recipient of many honours. Among them she served as the team leader of Softball Canada’s National Team, attending many world events, including leading the Canadian delegation at the Pan Am Games, Women’s World’s, and the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She has been recognized as a coach and builder in the Manitoba Softball, Sport Manitoba, and Softball Canada Halls of Fame.
The family would like to thank the 3 North staff at the Grace Hospital for their kindness and compassion to Evelyne and the family. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you also to Doug and Carla Klowak, Dennis Klowak, and Irene and Abe Peters, who spent time with Evelyne in her final days.In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, donations can be made to Manitoba Softball, 145 Pacific Avenue, Wpg. R3B 2Z6 in Evelyne’s name.
Cremation has taken place. A private, family celebration of life will be held at Wiebe Funeral Chapel, Morden, MB, at a later date, with service of committal at Hillside Cemetery, Morden, MB.