Henry James Evans, Sr.
Henry James Evans Sr. departed this life peacefully on January 13, 2021, in Milton, Delaware. Born to the late Cummins Evans and Rosea (Richards) on May 14, 1927 in the home his parents built on East Street in Smyrna, Delaware, Henry was the eighth of 12 children.
Educated by the Smyrna Public School System, Henry exhibited natural talent early on for all things graphic arts. Due to his passion for art, his untrained knack for understanding color, and his God given ability to draw and produce hand rendered calligraphy documents, commercial art and graphic design became Henry's life's work.
Following in his older brothers' footsteps and eager to serve his country, Henry enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17 on July 17, 1944 to support the United States' World War II efforts. Spending much of his time in the Pacific, Henry served his country as part of the 13th Army Air Corps Philippines and in combat on the shores of Japan, as a member of the 10th Army in Okinawa, Japan. He was Honorably Discharged in August of 1946, later receiving a Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, World War II Victory Ribbon, and Army Occupation Medal (Japan). To say Henry loved the United States of America is an understatement.
Upon the completion of his service with the United States Army, Henry returned to Delaware, inquiring about courses in Commercial Art. He was soon able to make a connection with Edward Bok Vocational Technical School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was admitted into their Commercial Arts program under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill.
Henry's commercial art training at Bok helped him land his first job in graphic production as an Assistant Production Artist for The Penn Fruit Company in Philadelphia. Henry later advanced to Layout Art Director. While working in this position, Henry was offered a job as a commercial art instructor in one of the local Philadelphia area high schools, which he refused. At this point, he was still without a high school diploma, having only a ninth-grade education plus three years of commercial art training. However, the top Art Supervisor for the Philadelphia Board of Education convinced him to go to Standard Evening High School in Philadelphia to get his high school diploma. This decision changed his life forever. For it was there in a history class that he met the love of his life, Rosa Aiken, of Millhaven, Georgia.
Graduating from Standard Evening with honors, and as a recipient of the Most Outstanding Graduate Award from the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Henry applied to and was accepted into the Philadelphia College of Art - known today as The University of the Arts. In 1953, he graduated with a degree in Advertising Design, having acquired significant training in television and printed graphics.
In 1967, Henry returned to Delaware where he secured a job with the State of Delaware's Educational TV network. Working in Dover, Henry was instrumental in the initial design of the logo, brochures and billboards for Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC).
Hired full-time by DTCC in Georgetown, Delaware as the Graphic Art Director, he also taught technical illustration, plus an evening adult class. In 1969, Henry's success at DTCC, afforded him the opportunity to land the position of Commercial Art instructor for Kent Vo-Tech Center, - known today as Polytech High School - in Woodside, Delaware. Nominated as "Teacher of the Year" by the Kent County Vocational School District in 1985, Henry enjoyed teaching and would later retire after 22 years as an educator.
His past professional activities included being the President of the Kent Vocational Technical Education Association, the District Coordinator of the Delaware State Arts Council, a founding member of the John H. Porter Tuskegee Airmen Association (Dover, Delaware), a University of the Arts Alumni, and a former member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Association, Sussex County Art Council, Delaware Art Teachers Association, Vocational Institutes Clubs of America, Delaware Hosta Association, and VFW Post 10638.
In the early 1970's, Henry was well renowned in Delaware for the establishment of his own graphic arts and silk screen printing business, ESSA (Evans Silk Screening Association) Studio, located in Milton, Delaware. Licensed by the state, ESSA was a family run company and a first of its kind in the Sussex County area. The company silk screen printed on every surface imaginable. His work included numerous jobs for the City of Rehoboth Beach, including The Summer House Restaurant logos, screen printed directly onto the windows of this establishment on the Rehoboth Avenue. He printed countless Delaware Little League jerseys, promotional posters, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hand drafted calligraphy awards for the Delmarva Poultry Association to name only a few.
Henry was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Rosa Evans (by one day); and by his son, Henry James Evans Jr. (May 13, 1955-February 25, 2020).
Memories of him will be cherished by his surviving children, Maurice Evans (Sherry) of Easton, Maryland, Kia Evans, of Milton, Delaware, Ena Evans, (Brian Hall) of Magnolia, Delaware; former Kent Vo-Tech student, John Waters (Maria) of Camden, Delaware, whom he affectionally referred to as a son; five grandchildren, Orion Baker of Seattle, Washington, Coi Evans of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Amanda Evans of Millsboro, Delaware, Dr. Novia Ha, (Dr. Duc Ha), Newport News, Virginia and Cyrus Hall, Magnolia, Delaware; one brother, George Evans (Francis Evans) of Penns Grove, New Jersey; two sisters, Ethel Watson of Smyrna, Delaware, Mary Monroe, of Dover, Delaware; two sisters-in-law, Nettye Evans of Brunswick, Georgia, Clumentine, Felton of New York; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and neighbors he considered family and many dear friends.
Services are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 6, 2021, at Evan Smith Funeral Home, 518 South Bay Road, Dover, Delaware. Viewing is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a by invite only private ceremony will follow the viewing. Details regarding access to the virtual service can be found on www.ewsmithfs.com
. Upon the conclusion of the ceremony, Henry's casket will depart the funeral home to Smyrna for a horse drawn carriage final ride through the town of Smyrna, Delaware, which he so dearly loved. Interment will be held 2:00 p.m., Monday, February 8, in the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear, Delaware.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Brian Allen Stevenson School of Excellence at www.basseinc.org
Published by The News Journal from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, 2021.