September 24, 1935 ~ September 9, 2022
Resided in: Arlington, TX
Evelyn Conley Fox Berndt passed peacefully to her home in heaven on September 9, 2022, at the age of 86. Known to all as “Evie”, she touched everyone she met with her sweet, loving kindness, empathy, generosity, and warm, beautiful smile. No one was a stranger to Evie, as she welcomed all with open arms and showed us all how to love, laugh, and cherish each other. She loved everyone unconditionally.
Evie was born on September 24, 1935, in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, where her great grandparents had settled during the run of 1889. The Conley family opened the first livery stables and later the first hardware store in Kingfisher, with her grandfather and father later expanding the family business into ranching, farming, banking, and other significant business interests over the years.
Evie was well cared for growing up in Kingfisher and was drawn to the beauty of music at a young age, playing the clarinet in the school band, taking piano lessons, and singing in the church choir. But her heart really started to sing after meeting her first husband Nick, the son of local farmers who played basketball at Big Four just across the county line. After spending her senior year at Stephens College, a girls’ school in Missouri, she followed Nick to Oklahoma University where she joined the Tri Delta sorority and started her college education. She always talked about how much fun they had together at OU, and the special friends that they met there. Upon Nick’s graduation with a BS in Engineering and ROTC as a 2nd Lt. in the Air Force, they wedded back at the Methodist Church in Kingfisher, where her father installed the church’s first air conditioner for the big occasion, the summer before her 20th birthday.
During their first year of marriage, Nick was training as a jet fighter pilot, first in Florida and then in Mississippi, where their first daughter, Kathy, was born, before they were stationed for the next two years in France, where their second daughter, Carrie was born. After leaving the Air Force, Nick and Evie moved back to Norman, Oklahoma where he got his Masters Degree in Engineering and Evie received her Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts. After moving to Tulsa for a few years, where their last two children, Nick and Connie, were born, they relocated to Los Angeles in the summer of 1960, where Nick taught graduate school at UCLA and later received his PHD in Industrial Engineering. After a few years back in Tulsa, Nick and Evie moved to Arlington in 1968, when Nick was appointed as an Industrial Engineering Professor at UT Arlington.
After her early years in Arlington focused on raising her own children, Evie started teaching kindergarten at Fielder Road Baptist Church and later second grade at Goodman Elementary. Although she loved teaching, her life took a tragic turn with the loss of her father to a sudden heart attack on Valentines Day, 1972, and then suffered the loss of her husband four years later in February 1976 from a rare, degenerative neurological disease. Although these events caused her deep emotional pain, she found comfort and healing through her church, Trinity Methodist, where she developed a deep faith through her training as a Stephen Minister and her years in Bible Study Fellowship. With the unconditional love and support of her mother, Mamie, and Nick’s mother, Moe, and so many other close friends, she became a beacon of love and best friend to so many, including her own children and grandchildren, sharing her unique “Evie” love with all who came to know her.
Four years after losing her husband Nick at the age of 40, she was introduced to Wally Berndt by her son Nick and Wally’s son Dave, who were best friends living together at SMU at the time. Evie and Wally immediately fell in love and married the next year in 1981. Over the next 40 years, Evie and Wally enjoyed sharing their lives together, focusing most their time on their ever-growing family, with a combined eight children, all who later married and provided Evie and Wally with a life filled with 22 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. Evie and Wally’s home in Arlington was always the gathering place for family and friends during holidays and special occasions, and she was the queen of the family, always the most gracious hostess and life of every party. However, in their later years they both started to need more care than the family and their longtime caretakers, BL and Ailene, could provide for them and took up residence first at Brookdale and later to Westmore in Ft. Worth. During these later years, their wonderful caretaker, Fannie Lindsey, has provided angelic love and support to them both, and who, like many, viewed Evie as a second mom to both her and her grandson DeMarcus.
Evie received many blessings in her life, but was most proud of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and loved all of Wally’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as her own. She was also extremely proud of being part of five generations of her family in P.E.O., a women’s philanthropic organization, and was hopeful there would be a sixth generation PEO sister among her great granddaughters. She always felt so blessed to have her PEO sisters, and their love and friendship continued to be a BIG part of her life to the end. She was also grateful for the friendship and dedicated service of her long-time accountant and tax advisor, David Hoover, and her family’s financial advisor Paul Ballet. And of course, she was blessed with the love of her little dog, Lucy, who was her faithful companion through her last years.
Evie is survived by her husband Wally and her four children, Kathy Fox, Carrie Fox, Nick Fox III and Connie Fox and her partner Jeff; her ten grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, Krista Potter, her husband Justin and their two children Conley and Evie, Austin Curry, his wife Megan and their three children, Caspar, Clive and Colette, Kacie Smith and her three children Trinity, Adrianna, and Olivia, Sara File, her husband David and their three children Connor, Eliza and Luke, Clint Keeton, his fiancé Jocelyn and their son Cooper, Nick Fox IV and his fiancé Mary Kathryn, Kate Fox, Molly Fox, Macy Silva and her husband Joey and their two children Millie and Jace, and Max Layne; and Wally’s three surviving children, Juli Evangelista, Dave Berndt and his wife Jolie, and Bob Berndt and his wife Debbie, and daughter in law Evelyn Berndt, and Wally’s 12 grandchildren and five great grandchildren, Madeline Berndt, Alex Berndt, Mattias Evangelista, Micah Evangelista, Stephen Berndt, his wife Caroline and their children Sutton and Lily, Ryan Berndt and his wife Mary, Michael Berndt, Jordana Mathews and her husband Ben and their son Oliver, Juliana Dusek and her husband Marty and their children Walker and Sophia, Elizabeth Berndt, Brigid Berndt and Ethan Berndt. She is also survived by her cousins, William Conley and Barbara Schultz and their families, and her nieces and nephews, Rick Conley, Laura Pierce, Claire Conley, Patrick Conley, Amy Conley, Christie Kennedy, Matthew Conley, and Benjamin Conley and their children and grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her first husband Nick Fox, father Benjamin Albert Conley, mother Macy Conley Oakes, brother Richard Conley and his wife Goldie, uncle Westel Conley, aunts Mary Conley and Violet Stringer, and nephew Burt Conley, as well as Wally’s sons Jeff Berndt and Richie Berndt, and close friends of the family, including Mike Logan, who was like a second son to her.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2pm on Saturday October 1st, at Wade’s Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Pkwy, Arlington, Texas. Memorial gifts may be made to the Nick Fox Memorial Fund at UT Arlington, through the Industrial Manufacturing and Systems Engineering Department, in honor of Evelyn Conley Fox Berndt.