Jan. 16, 1930 – Aug. 8, 2016
Lee Evans passed away quietly on August 8th surrounded by family and caregivers in the comfort of her own home at Heritage Place.
Lee was much loved for her vivacious personality, her creativeness and kindheartedness. She had a great life and sought always to give back of her many blessings in ways large and small.
Lee was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1930 in times of racial strife and depression, both of which left an impact on her. While she was in many ways a Southern Belle, she chose to leave the South after gaining a degree in teaching. Going on service projects with the Methodist church, she first taught in Cuba (Pre Castro) and then to the favellos of Brazil for 3 years. In Brazil she met her beloved husband, Sam, an Englishman. They decided to make a home in Vancouver where Sam began work with BC Tel. Lee and Sam grew their family and their large base of friends in towns around BC as Sam was relocated with his work. Lee worked as a teacher in Prince George and later, earned her graduate degree in Special Education. She worked with mentally handicapped youth at the Variety Farm in Ladner until her retirement. On Salt Spring Island she volunteered for a number of years with Smiles Cafe getting to know and love many island characters.
Lee and Sam built a home on Saltspring in the 70s and retired there in 1981, enjoying many special friendships with neighbours ‘up the hill’, United Church members and many others. In the mid 80’s, with their family grown and busy with their own lives, Lee and Sam again offered their services to development work overseas, volunteering to manage a trade school for 3 years in Liuli, a remote village in Tanzania. That’s where Lee got the title ‘Mama Lee’ which stuck with her ever since. They served with CESO in Kenya for several months and again in educational administration for 2 years in Parnamarin in Northern Brazil in the early 90s. Everywhere they went Lee immersed herself in the life of women in the community, starting up sewing collectives and other ventures to empower and improve their lives and those of their children. In 1997 Lee lost her soulmate Sam and soldiered on bravely, keeping up with growing grandchildren, the Baha’i community that she became part of, and projects supported from home. Her most recent service was making soups with the Baha’i youth for the “In from the cold” program.
Lee is survived by her sister Nellie Tiller, her children – Carol Evans (and Bryn King), Neal Evans (and Peg Evans) and Peggy Evans (and Bob Fuller) and grandchildren Max, Frank, Wylie and Natalie.
A memorial service is to be held in October, to be announced.