Evelyn Underwood Mayo was born July 6, 1919 in Watson, Louisiana, the fifth of nine children born to Laura Curtis and William Underwood. She was preceded in death by her parents, and siblings Woodrow Underwood, Eloise Underwood Jones, Martha Underwood Robinson, Ray Underwood and Faye Underwood Gunter. She is survived by her husband of sixty-five years, Rev. William Francis Mayo of Shreveport, Louisiana, and daughters Frances Mayo Sistrunk of Salisbury, Maryland, Susan Mayo Cooper and Pat Cooper of New Orleans, Louisiana and Carolyn Ann Mayo of Houston, Texas. Grandchildren include William Nathan and Linda Sistrunk of Belpre, Ohio, Jennifer Lynn Sistrunk of Fredricksburg, Virginia, Brooke Pickett and David Bruser of Toronto, Canada and Kelly Lane Pickett of New Orleans, Louisiana. Great grandchildren include Cray, Danielle and Sara Sistrunk all of Belpre, Ohio. Surviving siblings include Hugh Page Underwood, Fulton Underwood, Malcolm Underwood, all living in the Watson and Baton Rouge area.
Evelyn grew up attending Live Oak Methodist Church with her family. At the age of 16, Evelyn was the valedictorian of her high school class at Live Oak High School, but also was known to play basketball, as well as to tie for first place in the Livingston Parish beauty contest. She was awarded a scholarship to Louisiana State University, but didn’t attend college at that time since her father was ill. She became a long distance operator in Baton Rouge, later moving to Gulf States Utilities where she was a secretary and a war-time draftsperson. It was during this time she met and married a young Southern Methodist University seminary student, William F. Mayo.
Louisiana conference appointments took her to Baker, Alexandria, Tallulah, Jennings, New Orleans, Springhill and finally in retirement, Shreveport. She was the consummate minister’s wife, serving in every capacity of church life, from bible school to United Methodist Women. She attended classes at Southern Methodist University, Magnolia State University and Louisiana Tech University. Evelyn also taught school, developed remedial reading courses for high school students and was a secretary at Methodist Home Hospital in New Orleans.
Evelyn loved and excelled at many things. She was artistic and painted, sewed, arranged flowers and mastered ceramics. She loved laughing, a trait that started early in her life, as she was known as the social butterfly in the family. She loved color – in her home, closet and garden. Upon retirement, she got the very first home of her own rather than a parsonage and she delighted in filling it with color. Evelyn’s closet and wardrobe reflected that love of color: the brighter the better. Finally, she adored color in her garden which was decked out for every season of the year.
She loved to shop, to talk politics and to cook for friends and family, for which she was known far and wide. Evelyn loved to travel with family road trips a highlight. Recently those family vacations were reinstated, with trips to Charleston, Santa Fe, Texas, Arkansas and finally New Orleans this past Christmas to celebrate Bill and Evelyn’s 65th wedding anniversary.