Dr. Stephen F. Evans

After a brief illness Dr. Stephen F. Evans (Ph.D., Kansas) passed away Monday, February 26th in the loving care of his husband and friends.

Born January 5th, 1949 in Salina, Kansas; Stephen was the firstborn of father Dr. Grant E. Evans, M.D. and mother Montana F. Evans, Ph.D.

He is preceded in death by his father and brother David S. Evans; and leaves behind his husband of over 30 years James R. Ward, mother Montana F. Newkirk, and brothers Grant R. Evans and Samuel S. Evans.

Stephen received his undergraduate (’71) and Masters (’74) from KU, both with Honors in English; and began work on his Ph.D. as the Graduate Research Assistant to renowned Shakespearian scholar Dr. Charlton Hinman. In 1979, as he was preparing to take his Ph.D. exams, his mentor and advisor Dr. Hinton passed away. The only time in his life to leave KU and Lawrence, Steve left to pursue other interests. Returning in 1989, he recompleted the entire Doctoral curriculum with a 4.0 GPA, and in 2000 received his Ph.D.

A passionate, imaginative teacher who loved his students, Stephen began teaching at KU in 1974. Twice honored in his career as the Department’s Outstanding Instructor, his professionalism, intellect, and range were displayed over his career as he taught introductory and upper-level courses, Shakespeare, American Indian, Technical Writing, Advanced Composition and other courses. He was coveted as a capable, reliable substitute teacher across the Department. Always asking the best from them, his students won thirty excellence in Writing Awards, numerous departmental writing honors, and in 2009-10, the prestigious Chancellor’s Writing Prize.

His scholarship was unquestioned, publishing numerous articles and reviews and presenting papers at the University of California, Ohio State, and the Congress of Medieval Studies; to name a few. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Wilbur, Albrecht, and Hopkins awards; as well as the Whitcomb Fellowship.

Stephen’s legacy lies within the thousands of students who were privileged to fall under his tutelage.

Charming and brilliant, he was incredibly proud to be part of the University; and loved Jim, Lawrence, and KU.

Rock Chalk, my brother.

Visitation is Saturday, March 3rd from 11:00-1:00 at the Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home; followed by a private inurnment at the KU Pioneer Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to either the K.U. Endowment Association for the Department of English or the Lawrence Humane Society are requested.

Messages & Condolences

From Teresa Allen...

I was so sorry to hear of Dr Evans death? I first meet Stephen as a student of his. He was an outstanding teacher who was passionate and thorough in his teaching. He was a rare person whom I trusted. And in later years enjoyed meeting at the Oread with James, by chance. Stephen was a very special person who impacted my life.

From Brian Daldorph...

Steve was my 0ffice mate for many years, so I saw up close how great he was with his students. Steve was a true intellectual, interested always in expanding his knowledge. He was a generous colleague, admired very much. I will miss him.

From Dick Hardin...

Steve was a brilliant undergraduate in one of the first “Brit lit 1” courses I ever taught. In the 60’s. I was also privileged to direct his PhD dissertation. Done in 2000. The collapse of the job market had at least the benefit of Steve’s teaching a legion of lucky undergraduates at KU, with imagination, energy, and good cheer.

From Beth Schultz...

It was my great pleasure to know Steve as a student as well as a colleague and friend. It is difficult to believe that we will no longer hear his voice–modulated, clear, and crisp; be bowled over by his insights and his wit; delighted by his charm and generosity. Though I seldom saw Steve in recent years, my memories of his crisp intelligence when discussing literature and of his gentle pleasure when playing with his cat are vivid.

From Laura Mielke...

Steve was a gracious colleague and teacher who was a fixture in our department. I was blessed to watch Steve teach and could see how he won such love and respect from students. Certainly he had mine. He will be missed!

From Sue McDaniel...

I worked with Steve for several years and am so sorry to hear this. A great loss for all.

From Susan K. Thomas...

I am so stunned by this news. Steve was always so kind, supportive, and funny. We connected over the book Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, and he was always giving me resources and articles he thought I might like. He will be missed. May his memory be a blessing.

From Amanda Sladek...

Steve was the first person (that I know of) to use one of my articles in his class. After he taught it, he took the time to thank me, tell me how his students responded, and share that some of them had cited it in their unit papers. What must have seemed like a small gesture to him had such an impact on me. As a grad student, it was one of the first times I felt like a scholar. I hope to do the same for my students. He will be missed.

From Casey Keel...

Steve played a huge role in welcoming me to campus. I am lucky to have my office right by his. We would always come in early in the morning and talk about clothes, gossip, and teaching frustrations. Steve had such a warm heart. I’m sending love to his family and friends.

From Cheryl Lester...

What a terrible loss! Steve was a mensch, a dignified person and passionate professional with love and respect for students and colleagues. Steve repaid a simple favor with an extravagant box of Chris Elbow chocolates and the nicest card anyone could imagine.

From Giselle Anatol...

I am devastated to hear this news! Steve was one of my first contacts with folks on campus: he helped arrange all the details of my visit when I came for my job interview. He will be sorely missed. Wishing you peace and comfort in your time of loss.

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