Robert EvansMarch 7, 1926 ~ March 15, 2018 (age 92)
Robert Lewis Evans was born on March 7, 1926, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to the late Jake and Bessie Evans. He was one of five children born from this union consisting of three boys and two girls. Robert spent his formative years being educated in the public schools of Philadelphia. He attended Benjamin Franklin High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army at the age of seventeen. During the height of World War II, Robert served his country with distinction which resulted in him receiving several medals and honors before being honorably discharged in May of 1946.
Robert was always a fighter, as well as a smooth operator, who refused to ever back down from a fight. He was always confident in his abilities, and he feared no one. His sense of invincibility kept his mother in continual prayer for his safety during his tour of duty, and even more urgently upon his return from the military as he lived a colorful life as her prodigal son. With his tenacity and self-confidence, Robert eventually found employment at the Progress Lighting Company where he worked for forty years until his retirement. During his time with the Company, Robert enrolled at Temple University to further his studies in Electroplating which led to him being a “hot commodity” sought after by many.
The prayers of his mother did not go unanswered. In 1959, Robert gave his life to the Lord. He began his spiritual journey at the Ebenezer Seventh-day Adventist Church in Philadelphia. It was while at Ebenezer, that Robert found his passion for leading souls to the Lord through giving Bible studies. This love for introducing the unsaved to the Lord became a lifelong passion, as did his strong belief in the power of prayer. After a praying mother besought God to keep him safe during his tour in the Military and returned him home safe, she continued to pray until he surrendered his all to Jesus Christ. Robert soon became the one she called upon to pray for her while she was in great pain dying of cancer.
In 1961, Robert became a local Elder, and was asked by Elder A.R. Jones to work with him on starting a new church in another area. This led to the birth of the Germantown Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germantown, Pennsylvania where he became their First Elder. However, his life was incomplete. While viewing a photo of a visiting choir, his attention was drawn to a beautiful young lady. That beauty was Arthea King who, on October 23, 1965, became his lover and life companion of fifty-two years.
As a couple, Robert and Arthea loved to travel. Cruises were their favorite means of vacationing. It was during one of these vacation cruises that left out of Florida, that the Evans’s fell in love with the State. Upon his retirement, Robert and Arthea moved to Central Florida in 1989 and joined the Patmos Chapel church family where he served as Elder and Bible Worker. He was able to replicate at Patmos Chapel the success he experienced in winning souls for the Lord in Philadelphia. Due to his efforts, many souls have been won to the Lord. However, his connection to Philadelphia did not cease; he and Arthea immediately found several friends from Philly when they came to Florida. The group was known as the “Philadelphia Connection “and included Ola Hatcher; Ocie and Annie Lou Laurel; Earl Fisher; Donald and Lois Williams; and Clafton and Hazel Moses.
In December of 2004, Elder Willie Taylor, then President of the Southeastern Conference, asked him to plant a church in Mt. Dora. Several of the Bible Workers and members of Patmos Chapel joined him in that endeavor, and soon the Mt. Dora Mission was born. He continued his dedicated work with the Mission until he could no longer travel to Mt. Dora. He returned to his post at Patmos as the chief Bible Worker.
Robert Evans had the gift of leadership and persuasion, and he never faced a challenge that he felt he could not conquer and convince others to join him. He always greeted everyone with a big smile, and the words “Gimme five, stay alive.” When asked how he was doing, his standard reply was always, “What can I say for a young old man?” He loved his baby sister, Hazel, who he would always greet with, “Hey Kiddum.” Hazel adored her big brother who was always protective of her even in old age.
On March 16, 2018, Robert Evans departed this life to await the coming of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His final request was to be buried in his robe, with his Bible in hand, as a soldier who stands ready in the army of the Lord. He leaves to celebrate the memory of his life his sister - Hazel Moses (Clafton) of Oviedo, Florida; stepbrother - Lorenzo Cruger (Hattie) of New Jersey; niece - Cynthia Berry (Joe) of New Jersey; nephew - Herbert Jordan; great-nieces and nephews all of New Jersey; and goddaughter - Robin Walker (Lawrence) of Maryland. Those who have preceded him in death are: wife - Arthea Evans; parents - Jake and Bessie Evans; brothers - Jake Jr. and Leonard Evans; Sister - Ella Gaskin; step-mother -Mamie Evans; step-sister - Delores Blagmon (Edolth); nephew - Dennis Evans, and niece - Eleanor Bartell. RIP