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Raymond Evans was born in Newport, TN and spent most of his formative years in Cosby, TN. His parents were John T. and Alpha Seay Evans. He had three siblings, Robert Evans of Newport, TN and Lucille Evans Lane, of Church Hill, TN; both deceased. His surviving sister, Juanita Evans Burgess resides in Newport, TN. Raymond was married to Jimmye Wilkinson Crowley Evans, deceased; and Eleanor Roberts Luther Evans, also deceased. Although he had no children, Raymond was blessed with several loving nieces and nephews, who looked up to him as a father-figure and great role model; always teaching, listening and offering words of encouragement. Those family members are located throughout Middle and East Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Texas. Raymond was able to impart his wisdom and share his love with all of them, as he lived for 50+ years in Nashville, 8+ years in Knoxville/Powell, and the last 2.5 years of his life at Asbury Place Baysmont Retirement Community in Kingsport.
Raymond was a wonderful conversationalist, with a keen and profound knowledge of many worldly things. He loved socializing, meeting and making new friends and acquaintances. To help others remember his name after meeting them, he would greet them with his warm smile, and reference the TV comedy, “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He quickly made friends wherever he lived, whether it was in Knoxville/Powell where he visited with his longtime neighbor and dearest friend, Dr. Albert Lee and Dr. Lee’s staff (especially Janice and Patti), or his walking, lunch or dinner with friend and barber, Alice Lee. As a true Southern gentleman from another time, when family, friends, your words and a handshake meant something, Raymond always showed his gentleness, kindness, and respect to everyone he came in contact with. Arriving at Asbury Place in Kingsport, where he knew no one other than nearby family, he quickly made friends with everyone at Asbury; the residents and personnel all became his “extended family.” As Raymond always said, he was happy to get up in the morning and go meet his friends just to enjoy eating, talking, walking with them, and enjoying his everyday living. In that short time at Asbury, Raymond enjoyed a vibrant existence of independent living and left an indelible mark on friends and family: There are cherished times of visits to Bays Mountain Park, Warriors Path State Park, Kingsport Symphony concerts, Art Galleries, Dobyns-Bennett Chorus productions (where he didn’t understand some of the up-to-date music, but tried to listen anyway), eating at his favorite restaurant – Riverfront Seafood, where he wanted to sit “oceanview” as he called it, to enjoy the river and scenery.
His surviving family members will miss his presence, though they can all look to memories of him for a perfect illustration of how to show love for one another, grace to everyone you meet, and wisdom in all your decisions. They include nieces, Wanda Lane Lifford (and spouse Jerry) of Church Hill, TN; Anna Lane Long (and spouse Shelby) of Church Hill; Debbie Lane Weiderman (and spouse Sam) of Danville, KY; Dr. Barbara Lane Illman of Madison, WI; Brenda Lane Parker (and spouse Sherrill) of Mt. Carmel, TN; Teresa Burgess Morris (and spouse Charles) of Richardson, TX; nephews, Edgar W. Lane Jr. (and spouse Patsy) of Church Hill, TN; Bobby Burgess of Newport, TN; Jerry Burgess (and spouse Lee) of Hermitage, TN; Bill Burgess (and spouse Lynne Ellen) of Knoxville; special deceased nephew, Larry Burgess (and spouse Carolyn) of Gray, TN; as well as several special great nephews and nieces.
Raymond valued education and was a lifelong learner. He attended classes at University of Tennessee Nashville, American Institute of Banking, and Vanderbilt University. He was a retired Bank Real Estate Officer for the Third National Bank/SunTrust Bank, Nashville. Raymond was a Veteran of the U.S. Army where he proudly served in WWII, and was an Ordained Deacon of Woodmont Baptist Church, Nashville. Raymond enjoyed playing golf and tennis while living in Nashville. He relished learning new things each day. Some of his interests included reading, classical and gospel music, woodworking, exercise walking, and landscape painting. Although Raymond was his worst critic of his paintings, he was an excellent, very talented artist, possessing a great eye for color and detail. During his exercise walks throughout Asbury Place, Raymond thoroughly enjoyed seeing the beautiful paintings that adorn Asbury Place’s walls on each floor.
Raymond requested no funeral service; he felt they make people sad. He noted that he lived a “Wonderful Life, full of love and great times with family and friends.” He did request a family Celebration of His Life at a restaurant or venue to enjoy a meal on him, when all emotions are calmed and if we want to say a few words about him, do it then … but shed no tears. As he noted, “I want everyone to be happy and rejoice in my wonderful earthly life that I shared with them, but I’m ready to move on, meet my maker, family and friends who have gone on before me. Please respect my wishes – I did it my way.”
A heartfelt and sincere thank you to all the residents and personnel at Asbury Place, Asbury Place Healthcare/Rehab, Asbury at Home – including primary caregivers Carmen and Helen, Independent Caregiver – Lisa P; Doctors Daniel Carroll, Lisa Cook and Holly Berndt, and Amedisys Hospice – thank you for the wonderful care he received.