Eva Colleen Lafferty Krebs passed quietly on July 12 after a more than twenty year courageous battle with breast cancer. Eva was the most beloved wife of Rick for thirty-seven years and loving mother of Heidi and Alec Krebs. She was also the loving grandmother of Ryan Santillo and Annabelle Leek. She was the loving daughter of Roger and Verona Lafferty of Greenfield, Indiana, the loving sister of Beth and John Lafferty of Indianapolis, Indiana and Troy, Michigan and the loving niece of Gerald and Jean Lafferty of N. Chili, NY. She was the much-admired daughter-in-law of Rosalie and David Krebs of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Eva was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota, on February 12, 1952, but spent her childhood years in Indianapolis and Greenfield, Indiana. Eva graduated from Greenfield High School earning academic awards and then went to Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, where she graduated with a degree in English and then in Law. With her devotion to others in need, after passing the Bar, she began her legal career as a legal aid attorney in Trenton, NJ, forcefully and most successfully representing indigent clients in distress with her effusive verbal and litigation skills. She and Rick then pursued the private practice of law in Trenton, when Eva left the law to pursue a long and successful career in Higher Education Administration at Rider University, and then at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where she was the VP/Dean of Students and Admissions since 1995, retiring only due to illness. Among so many others, the greatest testament to her loving and caring character, and the one for which she most wished to be remembered professionally, was the continued long-term relationships she had with students, so many of whom continued to contact her and thank her for her warm personal care and concern well-beyond the bare limits of her job long after graduation. Eva could always count on the receipt of Christmas cards from former students of twenty and even thirty years before. Eva was also a long-time member of Rotary International, Forest Grove Chapter and active in developing and continuing a strong “town and gown” relationship between the City of Forest Grove and Pacific University.
Eva was (and remains in our hearts) a truly unique individual blessed with the incredible ability to listen to and to respond positively to the voices of everyone and anyone in need of her help. Everyone, from needy students, staff and faculty members to family and friends confided in her and sought her wise advice and counsel concerning matters from business to the heart. She was the world’s greatest “listener”. She was blessed with the analytical abilities of a lawyer and college administrator and the heart and soul of a poet. No one loved and cared for family, people and life more, nor devoted more of her body and soul toward making this world a better place one personal contact at a time. She did this in both her private and professional life. Her tireless advocacy for students and staff was legendary. No higher praise can be bestowed on anyone than the phrase so often repeated about Eva: “What do you think Eva would do”? During her tenure at Rider and Pacific Eva initiated many new programs and policies which were often adopted by other universities and which led, in their part, to both institutions becoming successful universities. Eva was a great lover of reading (especially mysteries) and writing and wrote several published poems. One favorite focus of hers was helping students with various hardships to stay in school and succeed. At her death she was writing both a novel and a children’s book all while working and dealing with her illness. Her caring and sensitivity extended to animals as well and “Mister” and” Little Sammy” (with so many others now departed) are part of her grieving family too. What more can you say about a lady who, from her hospice bed, inquired about the health of others or who, after grueling radiation treatments noted that her radiologist was “delightful”?
One day at hospice she noticed an unruly three-year-old girl visiting a family member with her parents. Eva asked the caregiver who this little girl was. Fearing that Eva was seeking to reprimand the noisy youngster, or her parents, the caregiver asked Eva why she wanted to know. Eva responded: “I’d like her to sing me to sleep”. And so she did with the strains of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”! This was a classic Eva Krebs moment. There were so many.
Husband Rick will dearly miss her. As Eva always believed, however, “death is no more than a mix of family and friends talking and partying in the living room waiting for the next loved ones to arrive from the kitchen—it’s simply like moving from one room to the next.” Those who loved and admired Eva will count on that.
There will be no formal services and Eva’s ashes will be returned to the world she so loved in the presence of her loving family.
Memorial donations can be made to a scholarship fund to be established at Pacific University in her name, or to Legacy Hopewell House Hospice in Portland, Oregon or to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN.