Nurse, mom modeled work ethic

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

Though Jean Evrage worked as a nurse, she also found time to teach roller-skating and birthing classes.

Family members said she also taught other lessons — the value of family, and of a work ethic.

“She had a really strong and honest work ethic,” said her son, Clifton Evrage of Portales, “and she tried to pass that down to us.

“If the hospital needed her to pull a double, she’d always pull doubles,” said Clifton, a maintenance technician for Southwest Cheese. “I work 12-hour days, and if they need an extra four hours, I’m here. Part of my job is to be available for call-in.”

Evrage died Jan. 18 at the age of 65. She was born April 8, 1941, in Portales. She married James Ray Evrage in 1960 and the family lived in Artesia for many years.

Her nursing career started in 1978, as she moved back to Portales with her three children following a divorce. Her career would span 24 years throughout eastern New Mexico, including time at Roosevelt General Hospital, Plains Regional Medical Center and the Portales Public Health Office.

In addition to a normal nursing shift, Evrage also taught child birthing and other medical classes. Her daughter, Linda Brown, was one of her many students over the years.

“(It’s beneficial) being able to give birth and not have it be the horrible, horrible scenario you’re told,” Brown said. “Knowledge is power. You’re very informed of the process and the phases, and you adjust accordingly.”

When she wasn’t teaching medical procedures, she was teaching roller skating and was a testing judge for Roller Skate Rink Operators of America.

Clifton Evrage said when he was growing up in Portales, skating was more popular and many treated it as seriously as competitive figure skaters.

“(With) pretty much everybody that was at the skating rink in Portales, you were not just a skater,” he said. “You were competitive. You were trying to get better. You were an instructor as well as a student.”

Brown, who works at a title business in Clovis, said her mother was always active in her life and nothing changed when she started a family.

“She was very active in my extended family (because) she was grandma then,” Brown said. “We’re very family oriented.”

Whether it was gardening, medicine, roller-skating, dancing or playing pool, Jean Evrage taught her children how to work and have fun.