The Class of 1929 will not be the same without the cheerful, enthusiastic personality of G. Robert (Bob) Evans, who answered Last Roll Call, on April 18, 1959, after a sudden heart attack. He was buried in the West Point Cemetery, on April 24, 1959. With his untimely passing, the Class lost one of its most cherished members.
Bob Evans was born on October 19, 1904, in Missouri, and was appointed to West Point from that State.
The first taps inspection of plebe year caught Bob with one foot in bed and the other slightly behind schedule, but it was only in the little tilings of cadet life that Bob was ever caught behind. His natural enthusiasm made him a leader in many cadet activities. He is well remembered as a pitcher on the Baseball Squad and as a rope climber in Gymnastics.
Upon graduation, Bob was commissioned in the Infantry, and detailed in the Air Corps. A year of flying training at Brooks Field convinced all concerned that he was a born doughboy. Following his return to the Infantry, Bob had two tours of duty each at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, interspersed with single tours of duty at Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming, and Fort Benning, Georgia.
While at Schofield Barracks during 1933-34, Bob “conceived, organized and was President of the only Lieutenants’ Club ever."
In furnishing autobiographical data for the Class of 1929 Thirty Year Book, Bob listed that accomplishment as "the single event or contribution of his military life standing above all others.” Those of us of 1929 who served at Schofield Barracks during 1933-34 well remember many hilarious good times at the Lieutenants’ Club and can understand the place it held in Bob’s memory.
While leading a night rescue mission in the Waianae Mountains in October, 1941, during his second tour of duty at Schofield Barracks, Bob suffered a leg injury which led to his retirement for physical disability, on February 28, 1942.
Bob was recalled to active duty the day following his retirement, and from July, 1942, until March 21, 1946, when he was relieved from active duty, served in important assignments in the Pentagon. During this period, he received successive promotions, reaching the grade of Colonel. For his outstanding work during World War II, he was awarded the Legion of Merit. On February 6, 1946, he was advanced to the grade of Colonel on the retired list because of additional physical disability.
In furnishing data for this memorial sketch, a classmate spoke for all of us when he wrote:
“Bob was blessed with a generous nature and an exuberant sense of humor. His infectious smile would invariably shine through any situation.
"A man of action, he embarked on an)' project of work or play with enthusiasm. A high sense of duty marked his official life, and his honor was a guiding light in all his undertakings.
“He was a warm, cheering friend. It was a privilege to be with him in anv activity’ at any time.”
Following his relief from active duty in 1946, Bob joined the staff of United States Gypsum Company in April of that year as Manager, Warehouse Trucking—Eastern Gypsum Division. His excellent performance was recognized by the company in September, 1947, with his promotion to Works Manager of its New Brighton plant in Staten Island, New York. In March of 1952, Bob was appointed Production Manager of the Atlantic Division of the company and, on a reorganization, was placed in charge of the Northeast Division which included plant operations at Boston, Massachusetts; Falls Village, Connecticut; Famams, Massachusetts, Hillsborough, New Brunswick, Canada; Little Narrows, Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as Metropolitan New York warehouses. In this position, he served until his death.
Bob’s leadership qualities, his strong forceful personality, aggressiveness and initiative were reflected in all his activities and resulted in the constantly improved performance of all the operations he supervised.
During his thirteen years with the United States Gypsum Company, his personal character and high integrity set an excellent example to all who worked with him and he left behind a company greatlv enriched by his service.
Since 1952 Bob and his family lived in La Grange, Illinois, within convenient distance to his Chicago office. He took an active and enthusiastic part in civic and community affairs as well as in life at his golf club, Edgewood Valley.
All of us in civilian life who were fortunate enough to have Bob for a loyal, understanding friend will always remember him as a good sportsman, a keen competitor and a man who was ever ready to lend a cheerful, helping hand to make this a happier and better world.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife, Ellen, and two sons, George Robert, Jr., and John Morlee.
—Col. Robert E. Chandler (ret.), Laurence A. Combs