John Evans | Passages

November 1, 1942 — August 2, 2021

John Buxton Evans died peacefully in his sleep at home on Orcas Island, WA.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Wanda, his two sons Sean and Brendon of Santa Barbara, CA and a sister, Michele. John was very proud of his four grandchildren who brought him much pleasure.

John was born in Waltham, MA. His family moved to Oregon when John was in high school. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a baccalaureate degree with a journalism major and a marketing minor. He taught journalism and English at David Douglas High School in Portland for three years and left teaching to enter the restaurant business as Vice President of Marketing for a California restaurant chain where he stayed until 1976. He started his own nursery business in Santa Barbara which he sold in 1985 to move full-time to Orcas Island.

John and his wife started the Evans Farm Nursery in 1989. He was a volunteer fireman at fire station 27 on Orcas for 15 years. He was on the board for the San Juan County Fair. He then served three terms as San Juan County Commissioner from 1993 through 2004. After leaving elected office he served as Executive Director for the San Juan Builders Association, was a member of the Building Advisory Committee, was on the board of directors for an Agricultural committee for the surrounding counties and was on the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Council. John played clarinet in the Community Band from the first rehearsal in the garage on Orcas Highlands until 2014 when Parkinson’s made the required finger placement an impossible task.

John first saw Orcas Island when he traveled to Victoria, BC on spring break in the 1960s with a few fraternity brothers. It was love at first sight. He bought the property in 1973 and added to it as neighboring properties became available.

He was a loving father, a devoted husband and a good friend to all. John loved Orcas and the community that followed their dream to this island. He held strong personal and political opinions. But he always tried to represent the interests of all Orcas Islanders as an elected official. He was a great friend to all, regardless of divergent personal or political opinion. His open manner, genuine smile, and warm, encompassing friendship made him a best friend and an unforgettable island character. He sat in many chairs as a teacher, manager, clarinetist, bird carver, elected official and simply best friend. The family is grateful for the hundreds of letters expressing great personal loss at the news of his passing.

No service is planned. Think of John when you have your morning coffee watching the sun come up on his beloved Orcas Island.