Evelyn Dieckhaus photo
Evelyn Dieckhaus

The Houston area will gather for a special service at Hiett Gymnasium at 6 this evening (March 31) to provide support for the family of a 9-year-old girl whose life ended tragically Monday morning in a Nashville school shooting.

The life of Evelyn Dieckhaus, a sweet spirit who made many trips to Houston to visit her grandparents, Dr. Joe and Kathy Richardson, will be remembered and encouragement offered to the Richardson family, her parents Mike and Katy Richardson Dieckhaus; and the Dieckhaus family.

Evelyn was a regular in Houston each summer where she attended “Camp Houston,” a grandparent-inspired event that they staged for their four grandchildren. Those visits often included a stop in downtown Houston at the Forbes ice cream fountain, to the dental practice of their grandfather, a trip to the Houston Herald, where mother Katy worked during high school and their grandmother toiled away on historic features. In later years, they popped into a Grand Avenue health food store created by their grandmother.

Plans were finalized Wednesday for the 30-minute service organized by the Houston Ministerial Alliance. Two songs will be offered, prayer extended and Pastor Bill Villapiano will offer a short message. Candles will be provided by the Houston United Methodist Church, where the Richardsons are long-time members. A reading about Evelyn’s life also is planned.

The Richardson service extends to the campus where the gym is located. Dr. Joe Richardson served seven, three-year terms on the Houston board of education. He was president for 19 years. He is the current president of the Houston Education Foundation. Katy is the niece of Houston’s Ross and Linda Richardson.

Services for Evelyn are planned for 3 p.m. Friday in Nashville. A burial will follow the next day.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Evelyn Marie Dieckhaus Creative Center in connection with the new Texas County Library. “It will be in an area of light, creation and beauty for old and young. Just like Evelyn,” the family said in a statement released Thursday night. The mailing address is Houston Community Foundation, P.O. Box 156, Houston, Mo. 65483.

Evelyn’s family also is setting up the Evelyn Dieckhaus Shining Light Foundation that will distribute funds to things that Evelyn would have supported.

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