James Earl Evans, SMSGT U.S.A.F. retired, 81, of Hall County, Ga., passed away on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. He was preceded in death by his father, Howard J. Evans; mother, Thelma Tyner Evans; and sister, Evelyn Evans Abbott.
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James served 42 years in the U.S. Air Force, 22 years in uniform with remote duty assignments in Korea, during the Korean Conflict, as well as assignments in Goose Bay, Labrador, and Johnson Island Atoll in the South Pacific, where he was in charge of top secret and highly classified communications during the Cold War Era. Attaining the rank of SMSGT, James retired in 1973 from the Air Force while stationed at Keesler AFB, Miss. His next 20 years were spent at Patrick AFB, Fla., in Space Launch Support Communications, helping in the launch of the first Space Shuttle Columbia as well as the Shuttle Challenger disaster and many other unmanned space missions.
James and his family lived in Melbourne, Fla., for 26 years before moving to Hall County and settling in Lula, Ga. James was a graduate of Lyman Hall High School, attended Georgia Tech, and graduated from Northeast Georgia Technical College.
James is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Betty Jo Black Evans, Lula, Ga.; daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Gernot Nowak, Portland, Ore.; sons and daughters-in-law, Mark and Teresa Evans, Chicago, Ill.; Joel and Linda Evans, Portland, Ore.; sisters and brothers-in-law, Jimmie and Ernest Couch, Lula, Ga.; Florine and Frank White, Gainesville, Ga.; Delores and Harold Clure, Gainesville, Ga.; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many beloved nieces; nephews; and other cousins.
James' hobbies were amateur radio, collecting country swing music, and was especially fond of Bob Wills. He enjoyed reading, politics, traveling and always made time for talking with his neighbors.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, 1642 Calvary Industrial Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507, or Eagle Ranch, 5500 Union Church Road, Flowery Branch, GA 30542.
Funeral services will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, in the Ward's Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow in Alta Vista Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.
Online condolences may be made at wardsfh.com, Ward's Funeral Home, 758 Main St. S.W., Gainesville, in charge of arrangements.
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on Nov. 12, 2013