We are deeply saddened to let you know about the passing of Nancy Evans, First Lady of Lamar University, after a heroic battle with cancer. She has touched everyone on our campus and beyond with her generous spirit and her passion for sustainability. The mark Nancy has left on LU will live on in the many activities and programs she created during the past five years the Evans’ have lived in Beaumont.
Nancy was born in 1949 and grew up in Menlo Park, CA, south of San Francisco. What is now a haven for Silicon Valley was then a quiet, middle class city easily explored on a bicycle. She attended the University of California, Davis where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English, a minor in Art and elementary teaching credentials. After graduation, she married Ken Evans and began her teaching career in Nevada City, CA. The next 35 years were spent working in Boulder, CO; Mesa, AZ; and Columbia, MO, before retiring in Norman, OK. After six years spent in Oklahoma, Ken and Nancy moved to Southeast Texas in 2013 as Ken began his tenure as president of Lamar University.
She enjoyed her new role as LU’s First Lady and took on my projects, focusing on sustainability and landscaping needs across campus. Nancy is responsible for the numerous bicycle racks added and gardens updated near many buildings at LU. In fact, it was not unusual to see her out weeding a garden in the Quad or near the Mary and John Gray Library when she was out on a walk and saw it needed to be done. The beautification signs on trash receptacles was one of the first projects Nancy tackled when arriving in Beaumont.
Her legacy will be best remembered through the formation of a program she believed in with all of her heart, Women and Philanthropy. This unique offering at LU was a way to bring women together and learn more about ways to give, to manage their money and to become closer to their communities. Each semester a luncheon was held featuring a timely speaker centered on various topics of interest as well as a members-only event.
Ken and Nancy have two sons, Paul, who is married to Ellie, in St. Louis, MO; and Brian, and his wife, Jessie, live in Albuquerque, NM. The pride and joy of Nancy’s life was her three grandchildren, Thomas, Marion and Peter. As her family is saying goodbye, please keep them in your prayers but also respect their privacy as much as possible at this time.