- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 23:21
- Published: Tuesday, 08 August 2000 00:00
John Willard Evans
Seaman First Class on 7 December 1941
At 'Em Arizona - July 2000
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.
PROFESSIONAL PROFILE OF JOHN EVANS
- Mayor Pro Tem - representing Southeast Dallas (District 7)
- Dallas City Council Committees:
- Chairman - Finance Committee
- Member - Housing, Health and Human Services Committee
- Ad-hoc Legislation Committee
- Municipal Affairs Committee
- Transportation Committee
- Public Safety Committee
- Business and Commerce Committee
- President of North Central Texas Council of Governments 1989-1990
- Member - Superconducting Super Collider Committee
- Chairman - Dallas City Planning Commission
- Member - Urban Rehabilitation Standards Board
- Helped start Dallas Crime Watch Program
- Member - Dallas 2000
- Founder - Aggie Feed Store 1953
- Board Member - Methodist Hospital Foundation
- Established "Friendship Agreement" between Monterey, Mexico and Dallas
- Awarded DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Honor Medal on March 17, 1988
- Member - Intergovernmental Coordinating Council for Children and Youth.
- PAST PRESIDENT: Pleasant Grove Rotary Club, Southeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
- PAST CHAIRMAN: Southeast Dallas Clean=up Campaign, Dallas Zoning Ordinance Advisory Board (ZOAC).
- VICE CHAIRMAN, MAYOR'S TASK FORCE: Mayor's Task Force - Southeast Dallas.
- MEMBER: Dallas Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council; Dallas County Public Health Advisory Committee; Advisory Council Circle 10 Council of Southern Cross District, Boy Scouts of America Sheriff's Advisory Training Committee; Sign Ordinance Committee; Sub-division Review Committee; Southeast Dallas Forum.
- BOARD MEMBER: Southeast Dallas YMCA, Gold Cross Foundation of Methodist Hospital, Dallas Can! Academy.
- TEACHER: Operation Lift (3 years)
- FOREMAN: Dallas County Grand Jury
- FUND RAISING COMMITTEE MEMBER: United Way, Heart Fund, Cancer Fund, Walk for Polio, Boy Scouts, Southeast Dallas YMCA, Clean Dallas Campaign, Slain Officer Baker.
- SPECIAL BOARDS/COMMITTEES: Dallas Transit System Retirement Committee; Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Committee; National League of Cities Transportation Steering Committee; President of North Central Texas Council of Governments; Transportation Policy Committee (1986-87); Trinity River Authority Committee; Greater Dallas Mobility Committee; Superconducting Super Collider Committee; Regional Transportation Committee (COG); Metropolitan Transportation Coalition Committee; Personnel Committee (COG).
- MILITARY: Enlisted U.S. Navy October 4, 1940. Began service on U.S.S. Arizona on December 3, 1940. Continued service on other ships through end of World War II. Received Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Service Medal with four bronze stars, Philippine Liberation Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Good Conduct Medal.
- EDUCATION: Masters of Science, Texas A&M University. Bachelor of Science, Texas A&M University. Associate of Science, North Texas Agricultural College, Arlington Texas. Served on Texas A&M University Research and Faculty Staff 1950-53. High School Diploma, Crozier Tech High School, Dallas, Texas.
John Evans was born in Waterloo Alabama January 1, 1922. He and his wife, Ruth Smith Evans, are the parents of five children and the grandparents of fourteen grandchildren. The Evans Family has been a member of the First Baptist Church in Dallas since 1947.
Information researched and compiled by I. B. Nease and N. A. Nease and provided on USSARIZONA.ORG free of charge.
May not be reprinted in any form, other than educational use, without prior written permission of the author.