William Wallace Evans, age 93, died on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at The Oakwood East Health and Rehab Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
Bill had been a resident there since April of 2007, following complications of vascular surgery in Naples, Florida which resulted in the total physical loss of the use of his left side. Bill was born on March 9, 1924 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Columbus, Wisconsin. He was the son of Wallace William Evans and Genevieve (Dunn) Evans of Fall River, Wisconsin. He grew up on Main Street in Fall River, attending The Fall River Public Schools through his junior year in high school. For his senior year, he transferred to St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, from which he graduated in 1942. While at St. John’s, Bill was a member of the academic honor society (The Dragon Society); earned letters in varsity basketball and baseball; and was known to his classmates as “Riley”. Bill regretted that St. John’s had no boxing team as this was his favorite sport and one in which he had excelled as a “Pirate” at Fall River High School. Bill enlisted in The United States Navy in 1943. After basic training at Great Lakes, he specialized in communications and was then stationed in New York City. After many North Atlantic crossings during the war, he was stationed in Guam. For the remainder of his time in the Navy, Bill attended The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts studying business. One of Bill's fondest memories was winning a boxing tournament while at MIT representing the Navy. He decided that the life of a career Naval Officer wasn’t for him, so in 1946 he was honorably discharged from the Navy. Bill continued his study of business at The University of Wisconsin in Madison from which he graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor in Business Administration degree. On April 9, 1947 Bill was married to Mary Jeanne Westphal at The Olivet Congregational Church in Columbus.
In 1949, Bill went to work with his father Wally and brother Bob at The Fall River Canning Company where he labored as Treasurer and then President until his retirement on January 1, 1980 when the business was sold to The Friday Canning Corporation of New Richmond, Wisconsin. Bill then headed up a group of Columbus area investors which converted the former St. Mary’s Hospital property into what became known as The Santa Maria Apartments. During their years of retirement, Bill and Jeanne spent the winters at their condominium in Naples, Florida and their summers at their home on Green Lake. Bill thoroughly enjoyed entertaining friends and family on Green Lake where many infamous local Dunn reunions as well as other social gatherings were held. Bill was a member and past president of The Wisconsin Canners and Freezers Association, The National Canners and Freezers Association and its Old Guard Society, The National Food Processors Association, member and past president of The Columbus Rotary Club, member of The John C. Brossard Post 2219 Veterans of Foreign Wars, longtime board member of the Columbus Water & Light Dept. and lifelong member of Olivet Congregational United Church of Christ. Bill’s favorite sporting activities in his later years were golfing with friends and family; and shaking the dice with anyone brave enough to grab the cup.
Survivors include his daughter Gloria "Jo" of Jefferson and his sons John of Fairfield, Connecticut and Tom of Newberry, Michigan and his two daughters-in law Sandy Evans of Sauk City and Ruth Zook of Worthington, OH; six grandchildren; Jeff (La'akea), Jenny, Lindsey, Kristen (Bill), John Henry and Joshua (Becca); and four great grandchildren; Evan, Olivia, Willy and William Wallace "Liam". Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Kathy Sanderson, his brother Bob, his wife Jeanne in 2013 and his son Mike in 2012; along with almost all of his lifelong friends.
A memorial service led by Rev. Beth Voigt and Rev. Jerry Wendt will be held at 11:00 A.M., with visitation beginning at 9:30 A.M. on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the OLIVET CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST in Columbus. Interment will be in Hillside Cemetery, Columbus with full military honors. A luncheon will follow at The Savanna Oaks Community Center in Fall River. The family wishes to thank Dr. Sam Poser, the staff at Oakwood HRC especially Ann Christenson RN and all of the nurses, aides and staff that were close to Dad over the years, Dad’s massage therapist, Annika Collins and the staff of Agrace Hospice. Memorials may be made to The Oakwood Community Foundation or the Olivet Church.