Escondido, CA

Evelyn Leona Ratzlaff Plett, 97, was longtime Escondido resident

Evelyn Plett, a member of the greatest generation, was born on Feb. 21, 1919, near the Little Arkansas River in Kansas. She died peacefully in her home on October 25, 2016, surrounded by her loving family. She was the fourth of five children born to Kathryn and Henry Ratzlaff, devout Mennonites. As an infant she fell victim to the swine flu pandemic and narrowly survived.

In childhood, Evelyn helped with the many chores on her family’s farm, such as milking cows, butchering chickens, and cleaning kerosene lamps. She was an excellent student, serving as salutatorian for the Buhler High School class of 1937. She was a cheerleader and active in Girl Reserves and the drama club.

When Evelyn was 18, her Mother died, her Dad had a massive stroke, and the family’s farmhouse burned down. She went to work in Wichita as a nanny and governess. There she met her future husband, Clarence Plett.

After Pearl Harbor, Evelyn moved to San Diego and worked as a driller for Consolidated Aircraft, while Clarence served in the Navy. They married on January 30, 1943.

Evelyn and Clarence Plett moved to Escondido in 1950, where they raised their three daughters. They were active members of The First Congregational Church and American Legion. They enjoyed square dancing with the “Escon-do-sis,” traveling near and far, camping, and gatherings of friends and family.

Mrs. Plett sewed all her daughters’ clothes, knitted many sweaters and afghans, and was co-leader of her daughters’ Girl Scout troops. She worked part-time as a cashier and food-preparer at Lincoln Elementary School. She and Clarence were loyal fans of Escondido High’s football team.

The Pletts were very active in the lives of their three grandchildren. In 1990 they moved to Caldwell, Idaho, living on a bluff overlooking the Boise River. Their home was a gathering-place for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They were members of Caldwell Methodist Church. They enjoyed their annual “snowbird” stays in Borrego Springs or Bullhead City.

Mrs. Plett was predeceased by her husband, their infant son Robert, and her four siblings, Abe, Justina, Ella, and Agnes.

Survivors include her daughters and sons-in-law Kathy and Steve Schmidt, Karen Plett, and Connie and Tom Snyder; grandchildren, Joanna Allen, Sarah and Eric Lefever, and Nick and Cristina Snyder; and six great-grandchildren, Madelyn, Jenna, Evelyn, Max, Justine and Eden.

To honor Mrs. Plett, the family suggests donations to one of her favorite charities, St. Jude’s Hospital.

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