Kenneth F. Evans Jr. died on April 11. He was 82.
Born in Glen Ridge, N.J., he was the eldest son of Kenneth F. Evans Sr. and Kathryn MacVicar. Ken’s grandfather, John MacVicar, was an innovative leader in education in the U.S. He founded Montclair Academy in Montclair, N.J., as well as Camp Champlain, a boys camp located on a large tract of family property situated on Mallet’s Bay in Vermont.
Ken’s family spent a good part of each summer on Mallet’s Bay. They embraced the region so completely that they left New Jersey and moved to Johnson, Vt., in 1944. The ensuing four years that the Evans family spent on the farm was tremendously formative for Ken. He cited farming as the best teacher of his young life.
Ken senior was an insurance agent in Vermont when a tremendous job opportunity arose for him back in New Jersey. For this reason, the Evans family sold the farm and moved back. Ken junior was enrolled in Mountain Lakes High School for the last two years of secondary school. It was in Mountain Lakes where he met his future wife, Lois (Sally) Beauchamp. He graduated before Sally and went on to study theology at Wesleyan University. Ultimately, Ken changed his course of study, graduating with honors with a degree in business. He signed up for Officer’s Training School in the Navy to serve during the Korean conflict. Meanwhile, his romance with Sally blossomed and they were married on June 13, 1953.
When Ken left the Navy for a business career, he had reached the rank of lieutenant j.g. Some of his most cherished memories during his naval years were his experiences in Japan. He was often sighted with a handheld movie camera, creating a film which he titled My War Experiences. The film includes his own voice-over describing life in 1955 Japan and scenes of the battleship on which he was stationed. Once back in the states, Ken was based in the Washington, D.C., area until he left the Navy. In 1955, he and his wife welcomed their daughter Deborah.
The young Evans family moved to Columbus, Ga. Their second child, Dawn, was born in 1958. In the years after, Ken followed in his father’s footsteps and worked for Mutual of New York as an insurance agent. The company found Ken’s leadership and organizational skills to be ideal for opening new branches. The family moved from Georgia to Mamaroneck, N.Y., New Rochelle, N.Y., Piscataway, N.J., to Verona, N.J., as Ken oversaw the company’s expansion.
In 1963, Ken agreed to spend his two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard with Sally’s family. That first summer on the Methodist Camp Ground was the beginning of a love affair with the Island that lasted the rest of Ken and Sally’s lives. In 1968 when Ken made a career move into banking as a trust officer, he and Sally found themselves in the position to purchase a small, three-bedroom cottage across from Sunset Lake in Oak Bluffs. It was christened The Cottage. Ken continued to follow his career goals requiring yet another move, this time, to Rumford, R.I. While Ken continued to relocate for job opportunities, The Cottage was the place the family called home.
Upon his retirement in 1995, Ken and Sally moved to the Camp Ground full time. Ken was an active board member of the Methodist Camp Ground Meeting Association for many years. Ken and Sally worshipped at the Trinity Church on the Camp Ground. They were regulars at Linda Jean’s breakfast club — arriving at 6 a.m. most mornings for 15 years. Additionally, Ken pursued his lifelong dream to become a pilot. Anyone who knew Ken was quick to discover that he was an avid New England Patriots fan.
As Ken’s health failed and his mobility was affected, he was increasingly homebound in The Cottage. Sally was Ken’s loyal caregiver. They had numerous visitors during this period. After Sally’s death in January of 2010, Ken was able to remain in his home for another two years thanks to the support from a home care service. Eventually, Ken chose to move to the Holyoke Soldier’s Home to be closer to his family.
He is survived by his sister Jean of Boulder, Colo.; two daughters, Deborah Reidy and her husband Jim of Southampton, and Dawn Evans of Oak Bluffs and her husband Dale Frank of Whately; three grandchildren, and eight nieces and nephews.
A graveside memorial service is planned for May 24 at 10 a.m. at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Oak Bluffs. Friends and family are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MVCMA Tabernacle Restoration Fund or the Holyoke Soldier’s Home.