Evelyn was born almost a century ago to Robert Elzie Guyton and Anna Lucille Gallman Guyton in Union, South Carolina. She had an older sister, Grace, and younger siblings: John William (JW), Bobby and Patricia Ann. As a young child with platinum blond hair and blue eyes, Evelyn was adored by all. Beginning in grade school, Evelyn was raised in the household of her beloved grandmother Mary Cudd Gallman in Union. In the midst of a struggling economy and World War II, Evelyn thrived in a close-knit community of extended family members and friends. She graduated from Union High School in 1943.
Evelyn was a first-generation college graduate in her family and a proud alumna of Columbia College in South Carolina, class of 1947. During this time, Evelyn’s mother worked in the woolen mill in Union to pay for the college tuition. Evelyn loved the camaraderie of this woman’s college and continued with these friendships throughout her life.
While teaching at Paw Creek School near Charlotte, Evelyn met and married Kenneth Johnson, the older brother of the twin cheerleaders she sponsored. Evelyn continued to teach various grades and subjects in the public schools of Western NC, including social studies, as she moved with Kenneth, a United Methodist pastor, to various towns and cities. One of her most notable accomplishments in teaching was to become one of the first white teachers to teach in all black schools in Asheville and Winston-Salem during the late 60’s.
Along with her profession of teaching, Evelyn raised five children at home: Martha Lynn (Bruce), Kenneth Jr., Robin (Dessie), Wesley, and Chris. Evelyn loved her children and especially babies. In spite of geographical distance, she established close ties with her grandchildren: Becky, Lee, Sarah and Michael and her great-grandchildren: Nathan and Lily.
Evelyn had a passion for missions and politics. She and Ken went as Volunteers in Mission to Indonesia in their retirement. They settled into retirement at Lake Junaluska in the 90’s enjoying the friendships and activities there. Evelyn protested the Iraq War in Haywood County and was a lifelong ardent Democrat. She had a passion for Emily’s List and supported Democratic women in politics, often mailing a dollar bill in the envelopes contained in Democratic mailings.
Kenneth, Evelyn’s devoted husband, preceded her in death by exactly seven weeks. Throughout Evelyn’s life she was deeply loved and exemplified the qualities of a strong and independent woman.
Her body will lie in the Mausoleum of Garrett-Hillcrest Memorial Gardens. After the Pandemic, a memorial service for Ken and Evelyn will be held at First United Methodist Church, Waynesville.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Waynesville, P.O. Box 838, Waynesville, NC 28786.