Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

The legacy of a centenarian

On Aug. 27, 2021 my mom, Evelyn Dignam, celebrated her 100 birthday in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was an amazing weekend of family and friends gathering to honor a woman who has seen so much change in her lifetime. Evelyn has created a legacy of six children, 18 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren (plus one on the way) and 1 great, great grandchild.

Evelyn was born in Buffalo, New York on Aug. 27, 1921. At the age of 15, William Dignam saw Evelyn as she walked by his family-owned florist in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. For him it was love at first site and he pursued her wholeheartedly. They were married for over 50 years; in 1995 Bill passed away. Evelyn continued to live in the home they bought in Florida for three years until she decided to move closer to family in California.

Of the six children that Evelyn and Bill had, their son Billy died at the age of eight. Karen, their eldest daughter lives with her husband Ray in Whitney, England. Margery resides with her daughter and son in law in Portland, Maine. Evelyn lives with her daughter and son-in-law, Linda and James Carhart, in Tehachapi. Ed their surviving son, his wife and two sons live in Raleigh, North Carolina. While Patricia, the baby of the family, lives with her husband Amir in Mexico.

Family arrived from all over the country to spend a weekend with this wonderful woman. All of her children, except Karen because of COVID restrictions in England, attended. Grandchildren and several great-grandchildren from Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York and Los Angeles, were there to honor and show their love and respect for Evelyn. A couple of Evelyn's nieces, Anne Dignam from Florida and Donna from Massachusetts were there to pay tribute. Several family friends who have known Evelyn for years were also happy to be a part of her celebration.

For all of us it was a great opportunity to have a family reunion and celebrate my mom's life while she is still with us and can see how much she is loved and how much she has given to all of us. Tim Carhart created a tribute video with family photos spanning several decades. It's always fun to hear people burst to life when they see a picture from the past that includes them.

One hundred years does not go by without trials and tribulations. Losing a child and your husband, watching your family prosper and grow but move to so many different parts of the country is not easy. But throughout her life Evelyn Dignam has stayed positive and caring. She cherishes family more than anything and so pulling everyone together was the greatest gift we could give her. Happy 100!