Edgar Wilson “Eddie” Evins, age 77, passed away quietly Thursday, January 14, 2010 at Baptist Hospital in Nashville. He spent his last days on earth exactly as he wished; surrounded by the people he loved - devoted wife, adoring family and a few close friends sharing memories and stories.
A self-described “country banker" for the better part of his life, Eddie packed a whale of a lot into his 77 years, living fully, loving deeply and laughing often.
He was blessed to come from a large family and considered both Lebanon and Smithville as childhood homes. He attended Columbia Military Academy, Lebanon High School, David Lipscomb College and the U.S. Naval Academy before serving in the U.S. Navy as ship photographer for the USS Hornet and the USS Leyte. After his overseas tour, he returned to Tennessee to study business at UT Knoxville, where his blood turned deep orange and his passion for the Vols became his permanent trademark.
Eddie grew up in a prominent DeKalb County political family as the grandson of James Edgar Evins and nephew of Congressman Joe L. Evins. Eddie served with his good friend and fishing buddy Hudley Crockett on Buford Ellington's first gubernatorial campaign. Governor Ellington later appointed him to the Tennessee Boating Board and to the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission (predecessor of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) where he rose to the position of Chairman. When Hudley decided to run for political office in 1970 taking on long-time US Senator Albert Gore, Sr., he turned to his friend Eddie to manage his race. Eddie also served as Treasurer for Crockett’s 1974 gubernatorial race against Ray Blanton.
A native DeKalb Countian, Eddie was the President of the DeKalb County Bank for 30 years and served as a County Commissioner. He operated Sligo boat dock on Center Hill Lake, co-owned the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, TN, (a position he proudly inherited from his Great-Uncle A.W. McCartney) and was a partner with his best friend Charlie Doak in a small service station in Lebanon. When his brother, Dan (a Shell Oil distributor at the time) came up with the notion of tying a country restaurant in with a handful of interstate-based gas stations, Eddie was instrumental in the creation of one of the greatest stories ever told: Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores® and served for 30 years on the board of director until he retired as a Founding Director. More important than his business acumen, Eddie was a servant at heart. He was a Co-founder and original Board Member of Friendship Christian School and a Sunday school teacher at College Street/College Hills and Alexandria Churches of Christ. Eddie spent his last 23 years at his true passion; helping those battling addictions find the path to God and recovery. He was instrumental in the establishment and daily operation of the College Street Fellowship House.
A Christian by faith and a gentle soul Eddie is best remembered for his caring heart and his passion for giving. To say he found his greatest joy by helping those in need would be an understatement.
In addition to passages from the Bible and the Big Book, one of his favorite quotes which remains on his wall today reads:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, totally used up, worn out and screaming Wow what a ride!”
If anyone lived life in this way, it was Eddie Evins.
He is survived by wife, Gloria Jean Evins, son Edgar Wilson Evins, Jr. and wife Kim Grayson Evins, a daughter Karlen Rose Evins and stepsons, Chadwick Jackson Hayes and Ashley Barrington Hayes. He also leaves behind two loving granddaughters: Tiffany Taylor Evins and Shannon McCartney Evins; and two step-grandchildren, Grayson and Jack Propst.
He is further survived by his three siblings William Jackson Evins, Jr., Myrtie Ann Evins Doak and Danny Wood Evins. His nieces and nephews are: Betty, Judy, Kathy, Dub, Cindy and Missy; Charlie, Bill, Ronnie and Andy; Daina, Meacham, Kate, Betsy and Joe; as well as sister in law Mrs. D. W. (Margarita) Evins. Additionally he leaves behind former wife and mother of his children, Nancy Alley Evins and former daughter-in-law, Pam Gattis Farmer.
The family will greet visitors from 4:00 - 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 19th and again from 10:00 - 11:00 am. on Wednesday January 20th at the College Hills Church of Christ at 1401 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. A memorial service will be held on January 20 at the Church at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to: Friendship Christian School (Pete Merriman Scholarship Fund), the College Hills Church of Christ (children's program) or the College Street Fellowship House.
PARTLOW FUNERAL CHAPEL IN CHARGE OF LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS. (615) 444-7007 OBITUARY (615) 444-7700. OBITUARY. www.partlowchapel.com
This information provided as a courtesy of DeKalb Funeral Chapel.