M Evanne Carvlin

May 18, 1926 ~ February 23, 2024 (age 97) 97 Years Old

M Evanne Carvlin Obituary

Carvlin, M Evanne (nee Thomas), 97. Born May 18, 1926, in Chicago to Owen and Mary (nee Byrne) Thomas. "Tommy" died peacefully in her home in Dolton on Feb. 23, 2024. Preceded in death four months earlier by her husband of 71 years, Thomas R. Carvlin; three sisters and one brother; sons Paul and Timothy, and granddaughter Rachel Carvlin. Survived by children Mary Carvlin, Peter Carvlin, Anne Bridges, Martha Carvlin, Monica (John) Regan, Elizabeth (Gregg) Carvlin Fuesel; 14 beloved grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren.

She grew up in Skokie, attended Niles H.S., Loyola University, Chicago, and the University of Arizona. She served in the Women's Auxiliary Corps. during WWII and worked for Catholic Charities as a social worker before marrying Tom at Holy Name Cathedral. She worked for racial justice, fair housing and helped to establish the South Suburban Housing Center. She served as president of the Dolton-Riverdale-Harvey League of Women Voters and ran the Ascension-St. Susanna Catholic Church food pantry. In her 50s, she earned an MHS in addiction studies at Governor's State University. Services in Harvey: Wake: 3-8 p.m., Thursday Feb. 29, at Olen Funeral Home, 15700 S. Emerald Ave. Visitation: 10 a.m., Funeral Mass: 11 a.m., on Friday March 1, at Lord of Mercy, 15746 Union Ave. Burial following Mass at Assumption Catholic, Glenwood, Ill.

During college, Evanne joined discussions about race relations at the Catholic Interracial Council of Loyola University in Chicago. She continued her work in social justice and focused on housing equity after moving to the suburb of Harvey in 1957. She and a friend hosted "person to person" talks in their homes to foster dialogue about race relations. They petitioned neighbors door to door to seek support for open housing initiatives in Harvey. She later learned the seriousness of the push back when a house nearby where a black veteran had planned to move in was bombed. The VA rebuilt the home after the FBI determined that arson was the cause.

She followed the methods and teachings of religious leaders and became a point of contact for many efforts at opening housing ownership to monitories in Harvey and the south suburbs. She volunteered for many roles--among them a public relations contact for the NAACP south suburban branch, representative in the National Conference of Christians and Jews, a member of Harvey Area Community Organization (HACO). She was a founding member of the Thornton Township Human Relations Commission.

Early in the effort to make Harvey and other suburbs open communities, her work helped to hold real estate agencies accountable at the local and national levels. Using activist methods, she picketed real estate agencies, bringing a handful of children along to bring attention to those whose methods discriminated against new home buyers. She attended and documented court proceedings that resulted in holding those realtors accountable for discriminatory housing. She became the first President of the Center's board and lobbied in Springfield and Washington, D.C. Those efforts were instrumental in passing the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. The law required banks and other financial institutions to invest in the minority communities in which they conducted business.

Tommy served as a member of more than 60 years and was a dear friend to many at Ascension Catholic Church (later Ascension-St. Susanna and now Lord of Mercy). She formed lasting friendships in her 20 years of managing the food pantry. Family members remember her pots of chili, spaghetti and pea soup. She was a chemist at heart, an avid reader, and a master at crossword puzzles. Her legacy of social consciousness, activism and justice work trickles down through generations. Her wit and grace will be missed.

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February 29, 2024

3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Olen Funeral Home
15700 S. Emerald Ave.
Harvey, IL 60426

Funeral Service
March 1, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Lord of Mercy Church (Harvey)


Assumption Catholic Cemetery
19500 Cottage Grove Avenue
Glenwood, IL 60425


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