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Les Evans, 1929-2019
Husband, Father, Sailor, Engineer
August 30, 2019

Obituary and life story submitted by the family

L
es Evans passed away at his home in Oriental in July, after a long illness. He was one month shy of turning 90. Les co-founded the Oriental Yacht Club, and was a key part of the emerging sailing scene in Oriental starting in the 1960s.

Les Evans
Les Evans with his sons Jonathan and Leslie.

He was a dedicated husband and father, sailor, engineer, art and classical music lover, and amateur photographer.

Les was born in Windsor, NC in 1929. Leslie B. Evans Jr. was the son of Elizabeth Moseley Evans and Dr. Leslie Ballard Evans, MD. Being of a young age during the Great Depression had a profound effect on his life.

Les EvansLes Evans

After the death of his sister and father within the same year, his mother moved him and his brother, David, to Raleigh, NC, where he graduated from Broughton High School, then attended North Carolina State College (now NC State), and graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1952.

His career began with E. I. Dupont in the explosives division at the Savanah River Site in Augusta, GA, starting up nuclear reactor sites, spending time in Oak Ridge TN in the atomic defense program.

Les Evans
Oriental Yacht Club founding members: From left to right: Joe Cox, Tom Bulla, Les Evans, Howard Manning Sr, Charles Gryb and Al Sharp. With Les is son Jonathan Evans, and dog BB.

He volunteered for the US army and was stationed at Fort Jackson, SC. After his required service, he enthusiastically accepted his honorable discharge to study business at Chapel Hill. He graduated with high marks from UNC-CH with a master’s in Business Administration in 1957.

Les EvansLes Evans
Les Evans as father, boater

Les worked as a senior process engineer, spending months on-site starting up chemical plants in exotic locations such as Spain, Aruba, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Jersey. As his home office was in Manhattan, Les gained a lifetime appreciation of opera and classical music, along with fine art and literature.

Les Evans
Les and Anne.

Les honed his sailing skills in the Mediterranean while living in Spain in the mid 60’s and became a competitive ocean racer out of the Raritan Yacht Club in Perth Amboy, NJ, after buying a Highlander for day-sailing.

Les Evans

Les desired to return to North Carolina and accepted a job as Senior Process Engineer at the Texas Gulf Sulfur phosphate mine in Aurora, NC.

Les Evans

Les and several sailing acquaintances in Eastern North Carolina were looking for a place to start a yacht club to keep their sailboats when they settled on the small fishing town of Oriental, NC. Les thought that the easy access from Raccoon Creek to the wide part of the Neuse River, along with a steady afternoon breeze would make an ideal spot for a sailboat marina. They talked to the Gaskins about the old general store on the end of Water Street and a deal was made. Thus was born OYC – the Oriental Yacht Club.

Les Evans
Les aboard one of the first hulls from Skip Etchells.

Les’ life could be said to revolve around sailing over the next decades. While mild mannered if you met him on land, once on a sailboat he become fiercely competitive and honed his skills as a sail-trimmer and tactician. He ordered one of the first hulls from Skip Etchells who had just finished designing the E22 (now called an Etchells) for the Olympic trials.

Les Evans
Les and his Tartan 34 ‘Girl Friend’ rounding the channel marker.

It was during these sailing weekends at the OYC that he met his wife Anne, the daughter of club member Cyrus “Teensy” Hodges from New Bern, NC.

Les Evans
Les and Anne on their Tartan 34.

In 1973, Anne and Les ordered a new Tartan 34 racing inspired cruising sailboat and continued to compete in nearly every race in the area for the next 30 years. The family enjoyed cruising in the waters of NC and VA. They were very involved with local Pamlico County social and charitable organizations.

Les Evans
Les’ Tartan 34 docked at Oriental Yacht Club.

Les settled down and spent the next 25 years living in Durham raising a family, while working for the EPA as an Air Quality Controls Expert. Retiring at 68, he and Anne moved permanently to Oriental in 1995.

Les Evans
Les at OYC during a high water event

Anne and Les ordered a new Tartan 34 racing inspired cruising sailboat and continued to compete in nearly every race in the area for the next 30 years. The Tartan was delivered in 1973, so it was the first modern racing-cruising boat in oriental.

LesEvansLesEvans

The family enjoyed cruising in the waters of NC and VA. They were very involved with local Pamlico County social and charitable organizations.

Les Evans
Les with friend Jon Bloom, and Les’ son Jonathan, daughter-in-law Sally, and grandchild.

Les Evans is survived by his wife, Anne Hodges Evans, brother David S. Evans, sons Leslie B. Evans, III and Jonathan C. Evans and 4 awesome grandchildren who continue to enjoy the Tartan and the OYC.

Les Evans
Les Evans. 1929-2019.

Posted Friday August 30, 2019 by Keith N. Smith


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