December 28, 1932 — October 13, 2019
Evelyn Horn, our own Hart’s Basin Crane Lady, passed away last October. She was 86 years old. True to her nature, Evey requested that no services be held.
Eveln married Edwin Allen Horn in June 1957. At that time she was an elementary school teacher and Allen taught mathematics in Reliance, Wyoming. Before the Horns moved to Las Vegas they spent time in California and a teaching stint in Newcastle, Wyo. Evelyn taught in Las Vegas schools until she and Allen retired. Well-traveled throughout the West, they ultimately decided to move to Eckert. Evelyn died less than three months after Allen (July 25, 2019 – he was 95.)
That was their history before they became part of our history. Like many, I first became introduced to Evey through the articles in her Delta County Independent column on local native plants and birds. In 1995 she started monitoring the cranes and created her Hart’s Basin Crane Hotline, a daily (evening) message center on her landline answering machine that asked others to provide their observations and on which she announced her estimates of crane numbers as well as other local bird sightings. (Her rancher neighbor, Jim Vela, was the first to tell me how precise Evey was with her crane counts: “She counts all the legs and divides by two.”) She never stopped being an elementary school teacher while she shared her experiences and told her stories. She was always at the front of the class.
Evey was sweetly independent. When we started to develop and promote Eckert Crane Days (ECD) I contacted her and mistakenly thought she was in the leadership of the local Audubon Society chapter. Boy, did she set me straight! SHE was not affiliated with any other organization! When it came to her cranes, she was was on her own and she liked it that way. – But this seems a little misleading.
Evey was not closed-minded. She attended the first ECD presentations and she realized that, when it comes to Sandhill Cranes migrating through Hart’s Basin, there doesn’t need to be a competition. She soon became a regular presenter at ECD programs. When she published her two books about HER cranes, Following the Sandhill Cranes in Colorado and Still Following the Feathered and Flowered, she came to our former winery and gallery for book signings. She was her charmingly best when we held a Tea With Evey book signing. (To Evey’s credit, she eventually relented and conceded that they may be OUR cranes.)
She was generous with her time.
We never tired of her cheerful excitement whenever there were large numbers of Sandhills staying over in the Basin. Her ever-present smile will be missed, especially when her cranes return this spring. And whatever views she held about an afterlife, I wouldn’t be surprised if she chose to become a crane above all other options.
– Jim Durr