, passed away last Sunday morning on January 13, 2008.
“Thank you to everyone who wrote kind words to Red and his family during his illness.The crowning of his long and productive life in radio, television, and public relations was becoming a published author. With a shout of “Ah Scooby Do,” his lead in as the DJ “Rockin’ Redhead,” he entered the Pearly Gates conjuring up thoughts for his first heavenly novel.”
I honestly don’t know what I can say to sum up a man who did so much in his life and meant so much to so many people. I met Red in my writers’ group three and a half years ago when I’d just started writing The Spirit of Sweetgrass. I was writing my debut while he was writing his debut into the publishing world. My book came out in March 2007, and Red was at my book launch. His book came out in September 2007, and I was at his book launch. We cheered eachother on and shared in the joy of accomplishment.
Words can’t describe what Red had grown to mean to me. He was honest in his critiques, he was always encouraging. He made you feel you might be on to something…to just keep going…the best was yet to come. He taught me to never give up.
I visited Red regularly in the hospital in December when his long and hard-fought battle with cancer was beginning to get the upper hand. I learned so much about him, about myself, about faith and life and death in those last weeks. One day in hospice, I asked Red if there was anything he’d ever wanted to do and had not done in his life.
He told me that at age sixteen he’d felt the call to ministry. He said he’d prayed and cried and prayed some more about it. Then a few years later, Red began his career in broadcasting as a radio DJ. He later became a TV news director and anchor man. He worked in Washington. He owned an antique business. He became an author. He had no regrets, but he thought he hadn’t answered that call. I disagree.
I attended Red’s funeral on Wednesday. Everyone there loved him. Everyone had been touched in a profound way by him. His son called him “the best dad in the world”. His bride of fifty years had spent every day by his side, loving him. There were friends of Red’s there from decades ago and friends who’d just come to know him. Last year, he found that the Internet could put him in touch with people he might ever meet in person. Those people now call him a friend.
If Red were here today, I would tell him he did have a ministry…a ministry of friendship. The call he felt from God so many years ago…he was faithful to it after all. He may never have stood behind a pulpit and preached the gospel, but Red Evans had a ministry alright…of encouragement, of truth-telling, of touching people’s souls.
Red will always be special to me. I will always see those blue eyes cutting right to the core of me. I will always hear his jokes. He found humor in this world…even in it’s bleakest moments. I am better for having known Red Evans. Today, Heaven is a better place. Much funnier, I imagine.
Here’s to you, my friend. Save me a good spot, won’t you?