Evelyn Ainsworth


EVELYN AINSWORTHPioneer ofElderly ExercisingMarch 19, 1916 toDecember 4, 2003To be in Evelyn's fun and challenging Monday morning exercise class at the Senior Center was like a breath of fresh air to one's body and soul. More than one senior wound up shedding their cane under her watchful eye. Even people from Russia who knew next to no English came. College students came to observe. Radio hosts interviewed. Evelyn was a gifted teacher, not only with adults, but also with children and teenagers. For many years, she was active in the Ithaca Council of Camp Fire Girls as leader for Bluebirds (primary grades), Camp Fire Girls (intermediate and middle school-junior high), and Horizon Club (high school). She led an excellent craft program at both Camp Tanda Day Camp and Residential Camp Lewa for years. With her former husband, she helped establish the primitive Camp Miakita, designing a totem pole for the entrance and blazing an outstanding nature trail. Often community services/activities she involved girls in were written up in The Ithaca Journal. At her home, trees continued to be her friends - trees were not to be cut down on her property, not even by utility companies.Her creative talent was recognized at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where she majored in Costume Design from the School of Household Science and Arts in 1941. In addition to making most of her daughter's clothes, especially prom dresses, Evelyn taught adult sewing classes for several years. Painting was one of her loves and she so much enjoyed taking classes from Peter Kahn of Cornell University. As a child, she never had crayons, but instead paint sets from her maternal Grandpa Saunders. Always, she was involved in some art project, be it leather carving, boondoggling (plastic lacing), glass bead weaving (using cigar boxes as a loom), copper enamel, or ceramics.Evelyn's agility was most likely due to her bare toe dancing as a young lady in New York City to being part of the Elderberry Troupe in Ithaca for seniors. This dynamic, petite gal held her own in high school basketball way back in the 1930's. As Evelyn Muth, she graduated from Richmond High in 1933.Named after her Aunt Effie from her father's side who lived in the Bronx, she grew up in Ridgewood and then Glendale. She started her married life to handsome Navy man in Bayridge (all of New York City area) before moving to Dryden where she became quite the canner and pie baker.Evelyn was a brave adventurer. One of her claims to fame was being one of the first women to fly with an infant, her first born, a daughter, when Chicago's O'Hare Airport was only one building the size of a double garage.Upstate, starting out at Cornell University, Evelyn culminated her working career at Ithaca College as Assistant to the Registrar for many years, guiding many a student in meeting their requirements for graduation and preparing documents for the annual graduation ceremony.As an avid reader and having a great interest in art, Evelyn had an extensive book collection which her daughter donated to the Senior Citizen Center, establishing a free, open-ended Lending Library, entitled Evelyn's Book Nook.All who knew Evelyn will miss her enthusiasm for life and her wonderful smile. Evelyn is preceded in death by her beloved sister, Ginny Alexander; and brother-in-law, Tom Alexander, all three who resided at the caring Oak Hill Manor Nursing Home. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Parks of San Jose, CA; two sons, Mick (Lee) Ainsworth and David Ainsworth, both of Ellerbe, NC; grandsons, Steve Caveney, Aaron Parks, Jeff Parks, Lee Ainsworth; granddaughter, Beth Ainsworth; and nephews, Tom (Ted) Alexander and Gordon Alexander.Memorial Services celebrating Evelyn Ainsworth's 87 years of life will be held in the spring at a time to be announced. Bangs Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements.

Funeral Home

Bangs Funeral Home, Inc. - Ithaca
209 W Green St. Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 272-1922

Published in Ithaca Journal on Dec. 6, 2003