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Evelyn Gertrude (Hadley) Fenner, age 93 of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in her home at Sentinel Pointe under the loving care of her husband of 73 years, Robert Willard Fenner.

Evelyn was born on February 8, 1927 in Middlebourne, WV, to the late Paul and Madge (Fletcher) Hadley. The second of four daughters, Evelyn’s family moved to Muskegon Michigan in 1928. She graduated from North Muskegon High School in 1945, and married Robert W. Fenner on October 18, 1947, in Muskegon.

After several moves within Michigan, Bob and Ev eventually settled in Fremont, where they raised their family of three children. The couple spent the next sixty plus years developing life-long friendships in Fremont. A significant part of their roots in Fremont were formed as members of the Fremont United Methodist Church. Ev’s personality was such that she tended to avoid the spotlight, but she had a heart for service and a reputation as a doer within the church. She supported the church by working on various committees like the trustees, and was always contributing to the church activities with her famous cooking. Ev’s faith was very private, but deep. In participating in Bible studies and discussion groups, Ev was known for her short but meaningful prayers, sometimes just one sentence.

The most important thing to Evelyn was family. Bob often said Ev told him she loved him every day of their life together. In addition to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, her extended family of parents, sisters, and their children were a huge part of her life. Ev formed deep loving relationships across all the many generations of her family. She was known within the family as an incredible cook. Some of her most famous dishes included fried chicken, vegetable soup, homemade bread, and fruit pies. In keeping with her nature, she passed this cooking legacy down to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Evelyn had a heart for those less fortunate or marginalized in our society. Although reserved by nature, she was not shy about confronting people who challenged these beliefs. Born in humble beginnings in West Virginia, she was very proud of that heritage. She is survived by her husband Robert and their three children, Daniel (Judith) Fenner of Maryland, Robin (Greg) Graham of Grand Rapids, and Tracy (Dave) Sodini of Muskegon. She is preceded in death by her parents Paul and Madge Hadley; her sisters Betty Frank, Maxine Nelson, and Beverly Sorenson. Unafraid of death, Evelyn now most certainly rejoices in the presence of her Lord and Savior.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Evelyn’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements were entrusted to Christiansen’s Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Greenville, (616) 754-5638.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Emmanuel Hospice (, 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503 or Fremont United Methodist Church (, 351 East Butterfield, Fremont MI, 49412.


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1 Condolence

  1. Steven Smith on October 3, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    I loved Ev Fenner. She was my Mom’s best friend, and she was always an advocate for whatever I was trying to do. I confided in her – I trusted her – I counted on her growing up.
    My Mom passed 7 years ago – I wish I had sought out Ev in the aftermath, but I was across the country and couldn’t make that happen.
    Ev’s passing has hit me harder than I ever would have expected. She and my dad were the same age, but I miss Ev in a profound way. My sympathies to the entire family.

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