Ben Evans was born Jan. 2, 1929 in Eldgridge to Robert Evans and Lottie Hayes.
He was raised in Wharton and graduated from Wharton Training High School in 1946. He enlisted in the United States Army on Jan. 30, 1947 at the age of 18 and was discharged in June 1950. He entered Wharton County Junior College (Black Campus) in September 1950 and graduated in May 1952. He re-enlisted in the military in November 1952, entering the U.S. Air Force Aviation Cadet Program at Ellington Field. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. on Oct. 23, 1953 and received his Navigator Wings in December 1953. He was later promoted to the rank of major.
Ben married Billie Jean Curtis on Jan. 7, 1954. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Sanford at St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church. To this union seven children were born: Phyllis, William, Gary, Curtis, Faye, Benjie and Lottie. Ben retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1970, having served his country for 21 years and 18 days. Always looking to enhance his education, he enrolled at the University of Houston after his retirement from the military. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with distinction with a degree in electrical engineering and embarked on a second career working in management for Texas Instruments, and Southwestern Bell Telephone where he retired a second time.
Ben passed away peacefully and received his Heavenly Wings on Thursday, March 5. He was preceded in death by his parents Robert Evans and Lottie Hayes; wife Billie Jean Evans; sons: William Evans and Darnell Balfour; daughter Sadie Phillips; brothers: Stafford Green, Hayward Evans, and Robert Evans; sisters: Ida Mae Johnson, Bernice Steele, Lillie “LV” Steele, and Mildred Brown.
He will be cherished with gratitude and loving memories by his daughters: Phyllis Evans and Evelyn “Faye” (Kimmy) Watson of Houston, and Lottie Evans of Wharton; sons: Gary (Carol) Evans, Curtis Evans, and Ben W. “Benjie” Evans of Wharton; 15 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren; brother-in-law K.C. Curtis; Burnell Neal who was like a son; devoted friend Bob Nelson, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 14, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Corey Gardner, officiating.