Beloved community member dies in hospice on same day tornado rips through

Published: December 21, 2021 9:58 PM EST
Updated: December 21, 2021 11:07 PM EST

While pieces of plywood and roofs lay across the ground, there’s a hole in the hearts of those who live in The Fairways at Eagle Ridge. Just hours after a storm ripped through the community, at around 6 a.m., one of its oldest and most beloved residents passed away.

Evie Bezdeicheck’s death is what created that hole. She died in hospice at about 11 a.m. The people who live there nicknamed the tornado “Evie” and said this was her way of saying goodbye to them.

The damage may be easy to see, but blowing the force behind it? That’s…”this is the lord’s doing, and it’s marvelous to see.”

In a video taken before she died, she’s saying her famous prayer. Her son says it’s for those who need it most. “She said, ‘oh, I made it up, and you don’t know who needs it the most,'” said John Bezdeicheck, Evie’s son.

Those who need it the most now are her neighbors whose homes sustained severe damage. But Evie was lucky because they understood.

Paul Smithers lives in The Fairways at Eagle Ridge. “Evie was talking to us. Evie wanted us to know that it was time to go,” Smithers said.

Nancy Smith-Gambaiani says Evie didn’t mean to make such a mess. She just wanted to be remembered. “She didn’t mean for all of this destruction, I know. But she just wanted to make sure we remembered her, and we will, definitely,” she said.

They see every down tree and missing shingle as a memory. It all shows that Evie was a force to be reckoned with.

“She just reminded me of a mother figure and just loved to play cards, like I said she loved her Bud Light,” said Smith-Gambaiani. “She would go anywhere as long as she could take her to bud lights,” Smithers said, laughing.

John, and his wife Therese, said because his mom couldn’t be here, she made her presence known. “Evie loved being in Florida, and she couldn’t be here, so she went out with a bang,” they said.

And, for sure, she accomplished her goal. Evie won’t soon be forgotten.

“This we ask in the name of the Lord, amen.”

Evie is definitely leaving a lasting impact on her community. And, luckily, no one was hurt during this tornado.

Cleaning crews have already come through to begin the process of tarping roofs and clearing out debris. And, there’s a long road ahead, but with Evie’s spirit watching over them, the neighborhood knows cleanup will be quick.