12/18/12 — Commissioner J.D. Evans dies

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Commissioner J.D. Evans dies

By From staff reports
Published in News on December 18, 2012 1:46 PM

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J.D. Evans

J.D. Evans, who brought both character and personality to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners for over a decade, died Monday at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

He was 71.

"J.D. was absolutely a gentleman and a scholar," said Steve Keen, the chairman of the board of commissioners. "He knew everybody and everybody knew him. He was a fine gentleman and a thinker. He taught me a lot.

"He had a deep love for education and for all the children of Wayne County," Keen said. "He was always pro education and wanted to do what was best, not only for Dudley, but for the rest of the county as well."

"He was the type of man that everybody loved," Commissioner John Bell said. "He would have a difference of opinion with you but he'd still be friends."

"J.D. Evans was one honest soul," former Commissioner Jack Best said. "He was a good man. He wanted to do what was best for Wayne County, not what was best for J.D. Evans."

Evans taught science and math at the former Carver High School in Mount Olive and was assistant principal at Southern Wayne High before becoming director of the Diagnostic Center for school administration.

Evans' health had been failing for some time. He was stricken with cancer and underwent brain surgery in April. He was recovering but became dehydrated in recent months, forcing an extended hospital stay.

Still, he remained upbeat and said only recently that he expected to recover and to return to his post.

Evans, a retired school teacher and administrator, was appointed to the board of commissioners in 2000 to replace Jimmie Ford, who was appointed to a seat in the state House.

Ford said he had just visited with Evans over the weekend, and was shocked by the news today of his passing.

"He was real quiet then," he said. "I had no idea that it was going to be this soon, any indication that he would be passing away at this stage.

"He was one of my best friends. We could talk any hour of the day or night. Gee, whiz, we were the best."

Ford and Evans had spent the bulk of the past decade volunteering in the public schools, mentoring and working with youths, until declining health slowed Evans down in the past year.

"We did motivation work if you will in the public school system," Ford said. "He loved it, and I loved assisting him in doing that.

"Wayne County will certainly miss him. He was a good person, a good-hearted person. He knew everybody in Wayne County. I think all the folks were his students he had taught at one time or another."

He also did a fine job as county commissioner, having recently been re-elected to serve another term.

"I think that J.D. was the kind of county commissioner the public really had a lot of respect in," Ford said. "The way he looked out for all citizens of Wayne County, whether it was education or any other issue that might come up, his heart was for all the citizens here in Wayne County."

"I got along with very well with J.D.," said former Commissioner Andy Anderson. "He had a knowledge of planning and was a stable, steady influence on the board.

"I'll miss him. I hate it for his family."

Commissioners will have to determine who to fill the rest of Evans' term. He was just re-elected to a four-year term in November. By law, they must appoint someone who is a Democrat, like Evans, and is a resident of District 2, which Evans represented.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at J.B. Rhodes Funeral Home.