LAWRENCE — Robert Rockey Evans (Bob), 94, was born on June 15, 1921, in Oklahoma City, Okla. and died Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at his home in Lawrence. He leaves his wife of 71 years, Lydia Spencer Evans; his daughter Patricia Ann Bird; his sons, Robert Rockey Evans Jr., James Warren Evans II, David Spencer Evans, and David Lee Barclay; their spouses and 10 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and many close friends.
His parents were James Warren Evans and Nell Rockey Evans. His father, a civil engineer, was killed in a construction accident when Bob was a baby. Nell raised Bob and his two sisters, June and Carol (both deceased), in Norman, Okla. In addition to traveling by Model-A Ford all over the USA with his mother and sisters in his early years, Bob enjoyed growing up in Norman, Okla., where he became a die-hard Sooner, had many interesting adventures and jobs and many good friends. One of his best high school friends, Lydia Spencer, became his high school and college sweetheart when they both attended University High and the University of Oklahoma.
Bob joined the Navy immediately after Pearl Harbor, and after graduating from OU with a bachelors’ degree in civil engineering in 1943, entered Midshipmen’s School at Columbia University in New York City. Bob and Lydia were married at Riverside Church in New York City on Oct. 20, 1943, the day he graduated from Midshipmen’s School as an Ensign. He served as an officer in the Navy’s Seabees during the final nine months of World War II on the Philippine Islands of Leyte and Samar with Platoon Assembly Detachment 4, providing the naval infrastructure for the retaking of the Philippines.
After being discharged from active duty in the Navy at the end of World War II, Bob and Lydia moved to Dallas, Texas where they started their new family and where he was working in the city engineer’s office. After having their first two children in Dallas, Texas, Bob moved the family to Great Bend in 1951 where he established a civil engineering consulting firm that grew to become EBH: Evans, Bierly, Hutchison Consulting Engineers.
Bob was a highly regarded civil engineer and businessman across the state and region. Among other honors, he served as the President of the Kansas Engineering Society and Vice Chairman for the National Society of Professional Engineers serving on the Ethics Committee for the Society. Bob volunteered to serve as the acting city engineer for Great Bend and several smaller central Kansas towns during times of emergency. He was also a community leader in Great Bend. Bob served as elder and trustee at the Presbyterian Church in both Great Bend and Lawrence. He was a scoutmaster, and served on the Great Bend School Board for eight years. An avid golfer, he was a longtime member of the Lake Barton Golf Club near Great Bend and then the Lawrence Country Club after moving to Lawrence. He also enjoyed life as a folk artist, entrepreneur, traveler and storyteller.
Of all of Bob’s accolades and accomplishments, he would view “family man” as his highest honor. He and his sweetheart celebrated almost 72 joyous and loving years of marriage. In addition to their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their spouses, they extended their love and caring to many who were not related by blood, and once a person was included in that realm of family, they always remained there, with unconditional love.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church in Lawrence. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate that donations be made to Jason’s STEM Launch Dreamers Fund, a nonprofit organization that assists underprivileged children to achieve their dreams of becoming future leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Fund is in memory of Bob’s first grandson, Jason Bird, and can be sent in care of the funeral home. Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home & Crematory**
601 Indiana St.
Lawrence, KS. 66044
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Aug. 25, 2015