“Kindness is like the snow, It beautifies everything is covers” — handwritten on a tiny piece of paper in her mass of cards and papers

There are probably very few people on this earth who would be described by everyone they know as the kindest and most gracious person they had ever met. Jean M. Evans was such a person. She brought you into her life and heart and you never doubted that you were important to her. Her personality was engaging and disarming. She brought out the best side of you. So many people sat at her kitchen table, or later in her room in assisted living, and told her their stories, and laughed. She was a counselor, a preacher, a philosopher, and a friend. She remembered the names of your children, and grandchildren, made them their baptismal gown, and later altered their wedding dress. She entertained guests for lunch in her modest cape, on a card table broadened with an octagonal plywood top, and then adorned with a beautiful table cloth and an elegant place setting along with healthy food. It was a treat that many guests enjoyed, and looked forward to. She was gifted as a seamstress and a craftsperson and spent hours with friends working on quilts and other projects. In the First Parish Church she was a force, joined every committee, worked tirelessly and embodied the best of Christianity: selfless love, empathy, kindness and generosity. She once looked in someone’s room in assisted living who had dozens of elegant dolls. She said, “I’ve made more dolls than that, and I don’t have a single one. I gave all of mine away.”?? Jean Maria Evans came to New York City from Springfield, Jamaica, in 1942, taking a boat to Miami and a train to New York City. She moved in with one of her eight siblings, Mayzel, and her husband, O.P. They had sent for her. They lived in the Bronx for four years until she met Ivan Evans, to whom she would be married for 50 years. 

They complemented each other well. In 1958, she moved her family which now had two boys, Robert and Richard, to Mount Vernon, New York, and in 1968, when Ivan retired, they moved to Yarmouth, Maine, where she stayed until 2013. She loved Yarmouth and the people she found there.

They were a fun couple to be around. Visitors were frequent and stayed for hours. No one left empty handed. He planted and fished, she sewed, and they both worked tirelessly at the church. For five years in the 1980’s she was part of a group called the Magnificent 7, a group of women that catered events from weddings to inaugurations and donated all of the money to the church. In her words, “Ivan and I started looking for a church. Our first was The First Parish Church, and the welcome we received there. We joined and were active for 36 years. We had a family of support and friendship…”  The relationships she had with the ministers have lasted beyond her lifetime.

When she was no longer able to be in her own house of 46 years, she went into assisted living at Forge Hill in Franklin, Massachusetts, near her son, Robert and his wife, Barbara. Again, she made meaningful relationships with so many people, and even though her health was declining, her spirit and caring and humor remained. Many of her friends died while she was there, which was so hard. In September of 2018, Jean said she wanted to come home to Maine. She said a friend of hers went home and died the next day. So right before Thanksgiving she was scooped up and in a magical day transported back to Maine, near her youngest son, Richard and his wife, Molly, at Quarry Hill in Camden. It was a big change, and just in time. She enjoyed the holidays, the increased visits from all of her friends in Yarmouth, and the support of the staff at Quarry Hill, but in the new year her health declined. On the Saturday before her passing, there was a beautiful family gathering in her room. She could no longer speak well, but she sat up, was alert, and looked content for the whole day. She had been waiting for that day.  On the Thursday before, very weak and frail, she looked at the calendar, and said, “Two more days.” She died peacefully on Monday evening with her family by her beside. Those how knew her will miss the grace and warmth with which she greeted you, her advice and wisdom, her humor and her stories and the example she provided for how to live a good life. She saw the good in everyone.

She is survived by her sister Francis Nation, her son Robert Evans and his wife Barbara, her son Richard Evans and his wife Molly, her grandchildren Ben Evans and his wife Rachel, Mike Evans and his wife Alejandra, Jean Marie Evans (her namesake) and their mother Wendy Clark, her niece Doreen Nation and her partner David, her nephew Daniel Nation and his wife Emarie, her nephew David Black and his wife Ann, Gail Allyn, her “adopted” Yarmouth daughter, and countless others who thought of her as their adopted mother or trusted friend.

A memorial service will be held at The First Parish Church on April 13. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The First Parish Church of Yarmouth. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.longfuneralhomecamden.com.