BOISE -- Former Idaho Governor John Victor Evans Sr. passed away this morning. He was 89 years old.
A spokesperson for the Summers Funeral Home in Boise says Evans died at 3:32 a.m. Tuesday at his home in Boise.
Evans, a Democrat, became governor on Jan. 24. 1977 after then-Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus resigned to take over as Secretary of the Interior for President Carter. He was elected governor in 1978 and re-elected in 1982.
Evans was born on Jan. 18, 1925 in Malad, Idaho. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war he attended Stanford University and graduated in 1951.
He returned to Malad to help his family run a cattle and wheat ranch.
His first foray into politics was in 1952 when he was elected to the state senate. He won re-election in 1954 and 1956. Evans also served as mayor of Malad City from 1960-1966. In 1968, he returned to the state senate and served as minority leader from 1969-1974.
Evans was elected lieutenant governor in 1974 and served in that post until he took over for Andrus as governor in 1977.
In 1986, Evans ran for the U.S. Senate but lost to incumbent Republican Steve Symms. In 1987, he became president of the his family-owned D.L. Evans Bank in Burley. The bank was founded by his grandfather.
Gov. Butch Otter's office tells us that Evans' body will lie in state at the Idaho Capitol from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday. That will be followed by a funeral at 5 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise. Both are open to the public.
A graveside service is planned in Malad City on Saturday for family members only.
Condolences have started coming into the KTVB newsroom from Idaho politicians.
Former Governor Cecil Andrus issued the following statement:
"Carol and I are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Gov. John Evans. John was a good friend, a loyal and talented lieutenant governor to me, a fine and dedicated public official at both the local and the state level and, above all, a genuinely fine man. He'll be remembered as a strong and capable governor who fought hard to maintain a strong economy and first class educational opportunities for Idahoans. We join all Idahoans in extending our deep condolences to our dear friend, Lola Evans the Evans family and his many, many friends in Idaho and across the nation."
Lieutenant Governor Brad Little issued the following statement today:
“With great sadness, Teresa and I send our deepest condolences to Lola and the Evans family. John Evans’ long record of service to Idaho and America is impressive— as an infantryman during World War II, in agriculture and banking, in local government, and in the Idaho Legislature. Governor Evans’ service and dedication to the State of Idaho will remain his lasting legacy, reminding his family, friends, and fellow Idahoans of the nobility of public service.”
Boise Mayor David H. Bieter issued this statement:
“Governor Evans was an outstanding governor and an exceptional Idahoan. As both a business leader and an elected official, Governor Evans displayed great wisdom, humility and resourcefulness to help Idahoans lead more fulfilling lives. My heart goes out to Lola and his entire family during this difficult time.”
Idaho Senator Mike Crapo issued this statement today:
“Governor Evans will be missed, but his legacy in the family business and his public service will endure. He and his family have been Idaho pioneers. The Evans family banking operation survived the Great Depression and has assisted thousands of Idaho residents and businesses. I fondly recall John’s leadership during difficult economic times during the 1980s and join all Idahoans in a tribute to his dedicated service and his love for Idaho.”
U.S. Senator Jim Risch made the following statement:
“John Evans was one of the most civil and gentle people I dealt with in the political process over the years. He was a committed Idahoan who deeply loved his state. Being in the banking business, he had a clear understanding of free markets and their importance in a free society. His leadership was greatly respected. Vicki and I send our condolences to Lola and the entire Evans family, who we have always considered good friends.”
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter issued the following statement:
“Having had the good fortune of serving with Governor Evans, I got to know him as a sincere professional who understood the cost of success and took seriously his responsibilities as Idaho’s chief executive. He always had the best of intentions and was earnest in his love of Idaho. I admired John’s willingness to compete in the marketplace of ideas and his ability to keep himself and his office above the day-to-day political fray. The First Lady and I offer our sympathy and condolences to the entire Evans family.”