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Published: 8/30/2007

Banker 1st female to run area branch

Magdalene "Madge" Evans, a career banker at the former Toledo Home Federal Savings & Loan who in the 1950s became the first female branch manager in northwest Ohio, died Monday in St. Charles Mercy Hospital.

Mrs. Evans, 84, of Oregon, died of complications from a pair of strokes she suffered about two weeks before her death, said Georgette Gabel, her daughter.

A graduate of Waite High School, Magdalene Petok married George Evans in 1941 and began raising their daughter while he served overseas in the military during World War II.

When Georgette reached school age, Mrs. Evans was hired as a teller at Toledo Home Federal's branch in the Great Eastern Shopping Center in Northwood, Mrs. Gabel said.

Mrs. Gabel and her husband, Richard, said they did not know exactly when Mrs. Evans became branch manager except that it occurred before Mr. Gabel moved to Toledo in 1958.

"Back then, that was tough for a female. The banking industry was pretty tightly closed with men," Mrs. Gabel said.

But Mrs. Evans knew just about everybody living on the east side of Toledo, and that helped both in building account and loan business and in steering Toledo Home Federal away from bad risks. The Great Eastern branch had one of the thrift's best loan delinquency records at the time, Mrs. Gabel said.

Mrs. Evans won an additional promotion, to assistant vice president and assistant secretary of the savings and loan, in 1971 after she arranged for the local ironworkers' and carpenters' unions to establish pension funds through accounts at Toledo Home Federal.

"It got her a promotion and a lot of deposits," said Richard Morris, an ironworker who was friends with Mr. Evans, a union carpenter, and became Mrs. Evans' main contact with Ironworkers Local 55.

The arrangement also made it much easier for union members to gain access to their retirement funds, Mr. Morris said.

In her leisure time, Mrs. Evans planted "lots and lots of flowers" in her yard, was a talented seamstress, and devoted ever-increasing hours to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Mrs. Gabel said.

After her retirement from Toledo Home Federal in about 1980, the Evanses began wintering in a mobile home that they kept on Cudjoe Key in the Florida Keys, a time that Mrs. Gabel said became her parents' "golden years."

They rode out several hurricanes there, but complied with evacuation orders when Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992. They returned to find their mobile home adequately anchored, but "they had water up past the TV and seaweed floating past everything," Mrs. Gabel said.

Combined with Mr. Evans' failing health from diabetes and Parkinson's disease, the Andrew experience prompted the couple to relocate their Florida residence to the somewhat better sheltered city of Naples, the daughter said.

Mrs. Evans was a past member of St. Michael's Church and a current parishioner at St. Stephen's.

Surviving are her husband of 65 years, George Evans; daughter, Georgette Gabel; sister, Mary Glover; brother, Ernie Petok; three grandchildren; five great-grandchildren, and three step-great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Freck Funeral Chapel after 2 p.m. tomorrow, with a recitation of the Rosary at 4 p.m. tomorrow. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Stephen's Catholic Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Oregon Fire Department, Station 2.



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