Major Evans Colbert "Chief" CHARLOTTE - Born on June 14th, 1923 in Huxford, Alabama, the sixth of seven children of Mack and Addie Colbert, "Chief" loved to tell people he was born in L.A. With his infectious smile he would then 'fess up to hailing from "Lower Alabama!" Evans valiantly fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith and received his crown of righteousness on August 31st, 2014, at 10:57 p.m., minutes before his preferred bedtime! Evans Colbert enlisted in the United States Navy on September 11th, 1943 and proudly served during World War II in the Pacific on the U.S.S. Merrimack. Evans thought he would make a career in the Navy but God had other plans for his life. He often recounted the moment he found a quiet place on the ship, knelt alone and accepted God's call to serve Him in the ministry of The Salvation Army. Evans was commissioned (ordained) as a Salvation Army Officer (minister) in June 1948, a member of the "King's Messengers" session (graduating class). He retired in June of 1988 and continued to work for The Salvation Army, retiring a second time the day after his 85th birthday. Evans met Catherine Juanita Smith, a cute little brown-eyed, cornet-playing Salvation Army Captain when he was 18-years old and married her on his 23rd birthday in 1946. He wisely thought getting married on his birthday would insure he would never miss their anniversary - he never did. Next to the Lord Jesus, Catherine was his world. Together they served in the ministry in ten states and 16 appointments. Catherine died on April 8th, 2005 and Evans is now reunited with the wife he loved and for whom he cared so faithfully. It was a common misconception that Evans was called "Chief" because of his years in the U.S. Navy. Evans was, however, full-blooded Poarch Creek Indian and instilled pride in his children and grandchildren for their Native American heritage. A longtime Rotarian, Evans was a Paul Harris Fellow and enjoyed attending meetings at the Charlotte North Rotary Club for as long as he was physically able. Being a Rotarian well-matched his life of service. A man of integrity and dignity to his last breath, his memory will bring a smile to the face of all who had the privilege of knowing him. He had an amazingly quick wit, and okay, his corn-ball humor was unparalleled. Chief was an avid Atlanta Braves fan, enjoyed woodworking, baking chocolate chip cookies for his grandchildren and for his own "midnight snacks." He was well-organized, a man of detail, with an incredibly sharp mind until his last hours. He was well-traveled, but the "Flight of Honor" to Washington, D.C. on November 9th, 2010 was one of his most memorable trips. He was always grateful to Rotary District 7680 for honoring him in this way. His was a life truly well-lived. He fiercely loved his wife, family, friends and country. He faithfully served his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He will forever be cherished by his children, Gary Evans (Norma) Colbert of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Gerald Keith "Jerry" (Tobi) Colbert of Matthews; Major Stanley Byron (Deborah) Colbert of Daytona Beach, Florida; Marsha Carol (Tom) Walker of St. Louis, Missouri; and Major Donna Suzanne (Timothy) Carter of Richmond, Virginia. He adored his grandchildren! Major Adam (Cara) Colbert of Birmingham, Alabama; Kathryn Annlee "Annie" Carter of Boone; Myles Evans Colbert of Charlotte; Timothy David "Jack" Carter of Greensboro; Jonathan Andrew "Drew" Carter of Orlando, Florida; Jordan Skyler Colbert of Charlotte; Ian Daniel Colbert of Charlotte; Jeri Melissa Colbert of Charlotte; Nathan Byron Colbert of New York, New York; Charlotte Calista "Cali" Colbert, Erskine College, Due West, South Carolina; Michael Joseph "Smitty" Smith, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. He will be missed by "scads" of nieces and nephews with whom he faithfully stayed in touch. The family expresses thanks to dear friends, Major Clay Satcher, Doctor Luisa "Doc" Littleton, Mrs. Wanda Hutchinson and ESVGF Brigadier Evelyn "Evie" Knaggs Grimm. Deep appreciation to all the staff of Brighton Gardens of Charlotte, who so tenderly cared for "Chief." Thanks also to Dr. Gregory Busse and Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region. Visitation will be from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 3rd, at Hankins & Whittington Funeral Service, 1111 East Boulevard, Charlotte. Funeral services will be at The Salvation Army Temple Corps, 940 Marsh Road, Charlotte at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 4th, followed by burial at Sharon Memorial Park. Well done, daddy, dad, padre, grandpa, pa, paw-paw! Well done, Chief! Arrangements are in the care of Hankins & Whittington Funeral Service, 1111 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 28203. Please share condolences online at www.hankinsandwhittington.com.
Hankins & Whittington
1111 East Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28203
Published in Charlotte Observer on Sept. 3, 2014