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Robert D. Evans

Died: January 16, 2011
The son of a protestant minister, Bob Evans was unassuming and modest in his demeanor, but steadfast in his life of service to others. His Yale friends agree that he was “the kind of person you would rely upon in a crisis.” He was liked by all and regarded as smart, generous, dependable and thoughtful. He had a wry sense of humor and somehow earned the nickname of Snapper. He survived childhood polio and overcame its residual limitations. Born in Vermont, he attended high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Brentwood, Missouri. At Yale he majored in English and rowed on the Ezra Stiles crew. He graduated from University of Michigan Law School in 1969 and married Katherine Kruggel that same year. Bob and Kathie have one daughter, Sarah, born in 1975.

Given his intelligence, generosity, and quiet determination it is no surprise that he had an extremely successful legal career, one more notable for its benefits to others than for the money earned. He began his legal career practicing corporate and commercial law in Chicago, but when an opportunity arose to work on public policy issues with the American Bar Association, he joined the ABA’s Chicago staff in 1972. He soon moved to the ABA’s Washington, DC office where he served as director of the Governmental Affairs Office from 1982 until his retirement in 2007. At that time he was honored by a testimonial read into the Congressional Record by Senator Kennedy’s staff, recognizing him for his “strong leadership on many issues, including judicial independence, tax reform, the PATRIOT Act, and numerous anti-crime and anti-terrorism bills.” The testimonial went on to add “Perhaps what people will remember most is Bob’s career-long effort to guarantee access to justice for all through the development and preservation of the Legal Services Corporation, which funds local legal aid programs to help low income individuals and families deal with basic legal problems that affect day-to-day living.” The National Legal Aid and Defender Association honored him for his leadership in helping defeat the Reagan Administration’s attempt to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation. Bob’s legal career played a major role in protecting access to civil justice in the United States.

In addition to his accomplished legal career Bob found time and energy for volunteer service to communities in the Washington, DC area. Bob served as mayor, town council member, and planning commission member for his home town of Washington Grove, Maryland. He served as chairman of the Associations Division of the National Capitol Area United Way Campaign. He was also president of Project Northstar, a tutoring program for homeless children in the DC area.

Bob’s human attributes were captured in a 1997 “Doers Profile” from the Washington Times. His motto was the golden rule, his hobby sailing, favorite author Charles Dickens, favorite drink MacCallan scotch, greatest feat donating five gallons of blood to the Red Cross (something he started while at Yale), and his Walter Mitty fantasy was climbing the highest mountain in Antarctica. His inspiration was his wife’s generosity and his daughter’s moxie. His “last words” projected fourteen years before his death were “I love you, Kathie and Sarah.” Bob died on January 16, 2011 following a seven month struggle with lymphoma.

Cecil Chang remembers:
To Snapper Evans; I will always remember those late-night-to-early-morning bs sessions at Stiles our senior year; we never did solve the problems of the world, the university, much less ourselves; but I did learn a lot from your wry/dry no-nonsense wit and intelligence. God bless, and rest in peace. Your whippy roommate. Cecil (Slippers) Chang