Evelyn Tonks Ricks, 90, beloved companion, devoted mother, sister and friend, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Rexburg from causes incident to age.
She was born May 12, 1924, beneath the Teton mountains on a small farm in Victor, the second of five children of Howard and Firl E. Bagley Tonks. She grew up in a family tending sheep, herding cows and tilling the soil with horses, cooking over a coal stove and attending church. Their home was filled with love and laughter, music, literature and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
She attended schools in Victor, graduating as class valedictorian. She also graduated from Seminary and attended Ricks College on a 25-dollar Seminary scholarship, which paid for the first quarter. She graduated from college with a degree in education and later taught second grade for a period of time.
She met and married the love of her life, a farmer, Mark George Ricks of Rexburg. They were married in the Logan Utah LDS Temple for time and all eternity Aug. 9, 1944. They welcomed nine children into their family.
She played the flute in high school, at Ricks College and for seven years in the Rexburg Community Orchestra. She was a member of the Ricks College Alumni and was the editor of the alumni newsletter for 13 years.
She supported her husband, Mark, on a mission for two years as a bishop, stake president, and regional representative. She and Mark entertained Apostles and Prophets in their home. She taught Sunday School, specifically genealogy and Family Relations. She was influential in developing ward libraries to aid teachers in teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For several years she also taught Family History summer classes to the "Sun Birds," Arizona folks summering in Rexburg. With the aid of sisters and others, she produced the Tonks Family Book and the Bagley Family History.
Together Evelyn and Mark supported six sons on missions. They served two years as directors of the Nauvoo Visitor Center and 18 months in the Salt Lake City missionary department aiding the paper process of missionary calls for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She later served as Idaho Falls Temple Matron beside her husband, welcoming thousands with open arms and seeing families sealed together.
Evelyn was a 16-year member of the Idaho Legisladies while Mark served as a state senator representing Madison County. Evelyn two times sat in that chair and voted for the arts.
She is survived by her husband, Mark of Rexburg; children, Michael (Derena) Ricks of Rexburg, Alan (Samantha) Ricks of Clayton, Calif., Adele (Rocky) Nielsen of Brigham City, Utah, Glen (Valerie) Ricks of Lindon, Utah, Kathie (Kermit) Tensmeyer of Carollton, Texas, Grant (Camille) Ricks of Rexburg, Merle (Alysia) Ricks of Layton, Utah, and Douglas (Melissa) Ricks of Rexburg; a brother, Howard Cleon Tonks of St. Anthony; 50 grandchildren; 54 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Howard and Firl Tonks; sisters, Carol Weatherston and Deah Fletcher; brother, Gerald Tonks; and a son, Gary Mark Ricks.
We honor a marvelous woman who gave countless hours for and in behalf of her God, her family, community and nation.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. at the Rexburg 19th Ward Chapel, 2332 W. 2000 South, (to accommodate morning funeral service of her younger brother, Gerald Tonks). Bishop Robert Tietjen will be officiating. The family will receive friends from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Flamm Funeral Home and from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Saturday prior to services at the church. Interment will be in Sutton Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.flammfh.com.