EVANS, John Willard

John Willard Evans

Seaman First Class on 7 December 1941
At 'Em Arizona - July 2000

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John Evans has children and grandchildren answering the phone to say he's resting or getting a nap. To make a long story short he says "Let us see you at the next reunion at Pearl Harbor." John probably didn't make billions but he is financially comfortable and has the confidence of all responsible citizens who know him. John enlisted in the Navy at Florence, Alabama in October, 1940. His entire company from the training station was sent to the Arizona at Bremerton. On 12/7/41 he scurried out of No. 4 Turret and leaped over the fantail and lived to fight again, serving on other ships for the duration of his enlistment.

John was "one of a kind" in that he sent his Navy pay home to help support his family (five brothers and sisters). John was the sixth, being the oldest boy of the family.

A pretty girl in Dallas, Texas caught his eye and heart, and he made that his home after the war ended. He was elected to the City Council and when he was with us at the 50th in Honolulu he was Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Dallas. He led the Pledge of Allegiance at the recent opening of the National Cemetery in Dallas.

After earning three degrees from Texas A&M University in College Station he turned to business and civic endeavors. In politics he managed his time well, seemingly always available with a listening ear for those whom he represented. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Dallas, he made to trips to the Soviet Union. On the first trip he went alone; the second was with an international group and they were on the last plane from Leningrad before it was shut down by the revolution and subsequent breakup of that empire. The USS Arizona Reunion Association is honored to have a man of such achievement as a member.

When asked if he would consider a leadership role with us he said he was taking care of his ailing wife and has a heart valve clogged that most likely will require surgery. However he is making plans for Pearl Harbor Reunion 2001 and is taking with him as many of his family as will go. He promises at least four of his five children and possibly some grandchildren.

On the walls of the Evans home in Dallas are family pictures, pictures with high profile people, and many pictures of him in Russia. He shows Russia has many magnificent buildings... all ancient... none were built by Communists. The children of that country are bright and eager to learn. Most speak two or three languages - some more, he says. John has many interesting stories about the Russian people and their government.

The business community of Dallas sent John to Monterey, Mexico to become a Sister City where trade agreements were signed. He described the Mexican people as poor and hard working. He said our trash was their treasure.

Remember the Arizona!
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