Evelyn L. Zifcak, 94, of Burrillville, RI, passed away peacefully at Crystal Lake Rehabilitation and Care Center in Pascoag, RI. She was the daughter of the late John and Alice Whitaker Gartland. She was born in January of 1928 in the Western Hotel, located in the village of Nasonville, RI where she grew up.
Her grandfather, Benjamin Whitaker, operated the Western Hotel bar and restaurant, having purchased it in early 1900, along with a bottling shop, horse barn, icehouse, coach enclosure, and two storage buildings. These buildings are no longer in existence. The horse watering trough is still in her family’s possession. In 1949, after graduating from Burrillville High School in the class of 1945, she married Russell “Gus” Ducharme, her first husband, inheriting a fine family of lifetime friends.
She was raised in an environment filled with the sounds of music via piano, mandolin, guitar, victrola, and the bar jukebox along with the amateur voices of her English great-aunts who worked and lived at the hotel. The boarders sometimes joined in along with her Irish uncles visiting from Millville. Playlets and poetry were in the mix, and they used the small stage in the upstairs dance hall to perform their original offerings. This inbred love of theatrics led her to participate in local church shows, and she soon joined friends in establishing the Burrillville Civic Theatre and the “Assembly Players” based in Harrisville, RI. She also wrote, produced, and directed musicals at Our Lady of Victories Church in Woonsocket. In 1983 she founded “Theatre Works,” Woonsocket’s first nonprofit community theatre company producing drama, comedy, and musicals for thirty-two years.
Her initial employments as a teen were the former McCarthy’s Dry Goods store and then the the former Silver Slipper Stocking Shop, both on Main Street in Woonsocket, RI, followed by an eleven-year career as operator/ supervisor at New England Telephone Company located on Ascension Street until the dial system was installed in 1955. She went on to be receptionist at Stillwater Worcested Company in Harrisville, and then Tupperware executive offices in North Smithfield.
She became a real estate broker, commencing her career with C.M. Allaire and Sons Construction Company of Blackstone, MA, followed by agency with Boutiette-Gaulin Insurance Company. She ultimately joined the offices of Anthony P. Zifcak Real Estate in Woonsocket. She and Anthony married in 1972. They visited England and Ireland, the lands of her ancestors, and visited Poland, which at that time was behind the Iron Curtain. Tony's delight was helping his Polish friends migrating to America to locate in Woonsocket. Tony died in 1988. She closed his offices and ultimately joined Riker Real Estate until her retirement.
She was sadly predeceased by her two brothers John “Jack” Gartland and Edward “Ted” Gartland. And her two sisters, Dorothy (Michael) Orlowsky, and Kathryn (Charles) Allaire, and her niece, Anne Mary Orlowsky.
She is survived by her son, Marc Zifcak and grandchildren, Jacob, Grace, and Benjamin Zifcak, her stepdaughter, Geraldine Zifcak Arthur, and step grandchildren, Christopher McGregor and Katherine Arthur, also her sister, Sandra J. (Robert) Abrajano, and sister-in-law, Suzanne (Edward) Gartland, her nieces, Elizabeth (John) Cullinane, Katherine (Mark) Palmieri, Charlene (Lee) Turner, Patricia (Michael) Lowman, Karen Gartland, Kelly Gartland, Amy (Keith) Magee,and Shelly Gartland, her nephew's, Brian Gartland, Thomas, Charles, Daniel, David, and Christopher Allaire, and cousin, William “Francis” Martell.
Also, her grand-nieces and nephews ,Burke, Gabriel, Kayla, Julia, Mason, Micah, Hannah, Samuel, Dustin, Caitlyn, Kelsey, Jackson, Paige, Parker, Stephanie, Kristen, Katheryn, Elizabeth, Steven, Nicholas, Owen, Evelyn, and Gavin.
She also leaves behind her great-grands, Michael, Layla, Isaac, Karter, Kyson, Keaton, Kamden, Kya, Kaitlyn, Quinn, Natalie, Avery, Addison, Wesley, Noah, Nora Kim, and Camille. She loved them all.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Keene-Brown Funeral Home, 445 Greenville Rd., North Smithfield, RI. Calling hours will be held on Sunday, July 17, 2022, from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM and 5:00PM – 7:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, July 18, 2022, at St. Theresa’s Church, 35 Dion Dr., Harrisville, RI at 10:30 AM. Burial will follow in the