Nora Evelyn Alfrieda
Jensen Dempsey

born Astoria, Oregon October 29, 1897

Nora Evelyn Alfrieda Jensen was born October 29, 1897 in Astoria, Oregon to Nels Peter Jensen and Anna Sofia Nielson who had immigrated from Denmark.

Evelyn, as she was called, was the fourth of five children. She had three older sisters: Joe, Mae, and Bodie, and a younger brother named Jim.

She attended the Astoria public schools. At about age 18 she married Casper "Cap" Stangland, the son of Norwegian immigrants. She and Casper had two daughters, Jane in 1916 and Patricia in 1920. The marriage was not happy and they divorced about 1921. "Nana," as she was called by her grandchildren never talked about this husband or their marriage.

Evelyn Dempsey, c. 1922, age 25

She met Earl Lawrence Dempsey at a dance. She was wearing a red dress. He pointed her out to his brother as the girl he was going to marry, and they were married in October 1923. Earl and Evelyn spent many years living in Honolulu where he was successful as an insurance broker. Their daughter Helen Evelyn was born in Hawaii. When Evelyn's brother-in-law died in Seattle, her sister asked Earl to buy the business which was called "Eyre's Transfer and Warehouse."

Evelyn joined into the area social circles and became a great hostess for many society events and service organizations, particularly the "Milk Fund" which supplied milk to school children. They lived in some beautiful homes in Seattle, Mercer Island, Redmond and Bellevue. Whenever her granddaughters were visiting there were lessons in ettiquette and cleanliness. Every year there was a different "theme." One year she taught us how to do our fingernails with a buffer. Another year it was how to iron our linens properly by rolling them in a damp towel. Another year it was how to keep our laundry white. That was the most fun. We were to use the wringer machine and put our whites through the wringer. We added bluing to the rinse water, and then we took the clothes outside to hang on the line. When it rained we went out in the rain and brought the clothes inside until the rain stopped. Then we would put the clothes back on the clothesline, repeating the process until they were dry, which, of course, they never were, in Seattle.

We never could quite understand it. She had a dryer and only used it for flannels and towels. Sheets absolutely had to be hung outside. We could spend the whole weekend doing two loads of wash in this manner. But one didn't question Nana's convictions. Papa used to say she didn't have opinions. She had convictions.
One of Nana's best friends was the wife of the founder of the Best Western Motel chain. She loved to drive with this lady because they could stop at a motel and get a room just long to watch their soap operas. Then they would continue on their way.
Nana always had a magnificent garden. When they lived in Redmond they had five acres overlooking the Redmond Valley. The whole garden was full of rhododendrons and azaleas. To be sure they were watered properly she would get out at all hours and move her hoses around by hand. Once, she had a brand new Cadillac and took it to get manure. She filled the entire trunk and back seat full of manure for her garden.

Nana loved to travel. She would insist that she could take a ship to Hong Kong to buy Christmas gifts for less than it would cost her to buy them in the United States. She loved these "shopping trips" until one time she and her sister Joe were caught in a typhoon aboard ship. They were not sure they would make it home.
Nana was incredibly strong willed. Her daughter Helen remembers driving across the Evergreen Point Bridge once and looking at all the homes around Lake Washington. It was awesome that somehow how these people were living their lives without Nana to tell them what to do. How could they survive?
When she was about age 12 she contracted rheumatic fever which caused heart problems in later life. In her day they were not operating on "older" people. Today they would not have hesitated. She had problems with congestive heart failure for many years. She passed away In Bellevue, Washington on December 25, 1975 at age 83. Her eldest sister Joe passed away two days later in California, at age 94.
Evelyn's Parents and Siblings Family of Evelyn and Earl Dempsey

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