Lydia Evans was born on October 10, 1920, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma and died at age 97, surrounded by love, June 6, 2018, at The Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, which she called home following the death of her beloved husband, Robert “Bob” Evans, three years ago. She now rejoins Bob and is survived by her children and their spouses Patricia Anne Bird (Lynn), Robert Rockey Evans Jr. (Cathy), James Warren Evans 2nd (Awe), David Spencer Evans (Jan), and David Lee Barclay (Cecily); and 10 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, her sister and brother-in-law Betty and Bill Silman, nieces and nephews and many good friends.
Lydia was the middle of five sisters. Both of her parents, Vere and Margaret (Wallace) Spencer had died by the time she was 16 so she and her two younger sisters, Ginny and Betty moved to Norman, Oklahoma to live with her older sister, Mary who was a student at OU. There, as a 16 year-old senior at University High School she met Bob and learned that life could be fun. They were sweethearts from that day in 1937 throughout the rest of their lives.
Bob and Lydia both graduated from the University of Oklahoma and remained loyal Sooners for life. They were married at Riverside Church in New York City on October 20, 1943, the day Bob graduated from Midshipmen’s School. After a few months of living in Williamsburg, Virginia where Bob was posted, Lydia returned to Norman, Oklahoma to assist the work of one of her professors while Bob went to the Philippines to join the Pacific Theater of WWII.
At the end of the war, Bob and Lydia moved to Dallas, Texas where they started their family. In 1951, after having their first two children in Dallas, the family moved to Great Bend, Kansas where Bob established a civil engineering consulting firm that grew to become EBH: Evans, Bierly, Hutchison Consulting Engineers. There, Lydia and Bob raised their four children with a fifth joining as a high school student.
The family still treasures those years in Great Bend, day to day life in a wonderful house that Lydia made into a perfect home, Sunday picnics on Arkansas River sandbars, Christmases, summer travels all around America and the positive modeling and support of loving parents. Lydia was active in the First Presbyterian Church and P.E.O. She and Bob made many lifelong friends in Great Bend and Mom established herself as a highly skilled bridge player.
Bob and Lydia moved to Lawrence in 1978 where Bob had opened an EBH branch office. They joined the Lawrence First Presbyterian Church and Lydia continued to be highly involved as a member and leader in P.E.O. and as a bridge player in a variety of groups for the forty years she lived in Lawrence. They made many more close friends in Lawrence and enjoyed traveling the world during retirement.
Throughout her life, Lydia has been courageous, resilient and generous; a thinker, a learner and a Lady. She and her sweetheart Bob celebrated almost 72 joyous years of marriage. In addition to their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and spouses, they extended their love and caring to many who were not related by blood, and once a person was included in that realm of family, they always remained there, with unconditional love.
The family will hold a private graveside service early on Monday, July 16th followed, at 11 AM, by a celebration of Lydia’s life with family and friends in the Presbyterian Manor Chapel in Lawrence. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate that donations be made to The Presbyterian Manor Good Samaritan Program or their Employee Education Fund.