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Two celebrations of Bob’s life – “Bob-Fests” – are planned. The first is Aug. 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mad Matilda’s, 1917 Main St. The second will be Sept. 12 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mike and Janie Morrissey’s place in Keating (turn left off Highway 86 onto Banta Road, then right on Ritter Loop). Music will start about 5 p.m., and this is a picnic potluck.
In his 55 years, Bob managed to live about five times as many lives compared to most people’s one. Although he never smoked, he was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 followed by a remission, resurfacing as brain cancer in early 2009.
Bob was born on Nov. 3, 1953. He grew up in Wallowa and was a 1972 Wallowa High School graduate. From there he went to Southern Oregon University in Ashland, and dropped out before becoming a Duck at the University of Oregon in Eugene. He graduated in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the U of O.
He remained a lifelong Duck. He loved sports, passionately so about the Ducks. He was an avid hiker, mushroomer and huckleberry picker.
For all his diverse jobs and hobbies he could have kept a hat shop in chips: mill worker, helitack and wildland firefighter, referee, drummer, announcer of the Miners Jubilee Parade, volunteer fundraiser, Wallowa County Chieftain editor, founder of the Joseph Eagle, public relations for Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, editor of many publications, including the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Comprehensive Management Plan and extensive freelance work.
His passion for writing led him into the SMART program, teaching people to read. He was the impetus for the Baker County Cultural Coalition.
In short, he was an unsung hero and a driving force behind what makes small town living special. Relationships, people, connections between the past and places, were really important and a joy for him. He was never married although according to his family “he had three close calls.” He lived in Joseph and La Grande before moving to Baker City in 1993.
As an editor he was extremely precise and would have quickly spotted the numerous grammatical mistakes in this obituary. However he was completely forgiving and with a special love for the English language, he would have treasured the collection of words he earned that his friends used to describe him:
“Friend of the arts and gentlest of hearts, quick-witted, fun, never complained, warm, a music man, sunlight and shadow, faithful friend, talented musician, humble, gentle, genuine, open, present, adventurous, enjoyed the road less traveled, teacher, friend and brother, compassionate laughter, helpful and positive, soulful, dedicated, a different drummer, impish, generous of heart, incredible memory, great laugh, hero, funmonger, cared about the right things, great guy, strong and involved, insightful, thoughtful, a good soul, warm, bright, a welcoming smile, wonderfully warm.”
He will be missed by just about all the population of Eastern Oregon and then some, all of whom Bob seemed to have befriended. “We miss you Bob and thank you for adding so much to our lives,” his friends said.
He is survived by his parents, Bob and Colleen Evans.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Valerie, in 1983.
Memorial contributions may be made to Bob’s favorite organizations: Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, the SMART program, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Cultural Trust, Wallowa School Foundation (donations jars will also be set out at the Bob-Fest gatherings).
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon August 12, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor