61st Annual Macon County Fair :: September 17-20 @ Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center - 441 South, Franklin, NC

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

Click for Franklin, North Carolina Forecast

News Town left with void from Evans’ passing

Alderman Jerry EvansTown of Franklin alderman Jerry Evans passed away last Thursday at the age of 55, due to complications relating to a respiratory illness. According to town officials, his passing was completely unexpected. None of his fellow aldermen realized his illness was so serious, and they were not prepared for the news that he had died on Feb. 17.

More than a year ago, Evans was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring or thickening of the lungs that causes difficulty breathing. “He had a very substantial problem with his lungs,” said Franklin Mayor Joe Collins. “It had been going on for a while.”

Evans had checked into Angel Medical Center the previous day with an apparent infection that left him dehydrated, Collins said.

“I was totally stunned when I got the call,” said town alderman Joyce Handley. “The thought never occurred to me that he was so ill that he was going to pass away.”

“He was there for the little guy. He was always for the taxpayers. He didn’t want changes made that were going to hurt the people who had voted for him.” — Franklin Alderman Joyce Handley

“He was there for the little guy. He was always for the taxpayers. He didn’t want changes made that were going to hurt the people who had voted for him.” — Franklin Alderman Joyce Handley

According to his colleagues, Evans had been formally diagnosed with the illness about a year ago, and was considering having a lung transplant along with other treatment options.

In recent months, Evans found it necessary to miss a few town board meetings as his health declined. He missed the winter retreat in late January and the February town board meeting, though he was able to attend the first meeting of the year.

For 13 years, Evans served as an alderman, two years of which he served as vice mayor. In addition to his service to the Town of Franklin, he retired from Terminix after 34 years of employment in 2010. “It was a huge chunk of his life, other than being an alderman,” remarked Town Manager Sam Greenwood, who has served the town since 2008.

Evans’ peers on the Franklin Town Board say that he will be missed along with the input that he brought to the board.

“In his heart he really loved to have the opportunity to be part of the town board, and he represented the citizens of Franklin the best that he could,” remarked Collins, who grew up with Evans in Franklin. The two were even neighbors on Crestview Heights for several years in the early ’90s.

“To me it seemed like Jerry was always more in tune with the common folks of the town and their opinions,” said Greenwood. “We’ll miss him. He was a good addition to the board.”

Board members also asserted that Evans was an outspoken alderman.

“Jerry brought a diversity to the board that was welcomed and helpful,” Collins continued. “He took pride in the fact that he was an alderman. He was someone that has left a good legacy with the town, and he will be missed.”

Although Alderman Joyce Handley said that she and Evans did not always agree on issues, they were able to maintain civility and friendship. “He was there for the little guy. He was always for the taxpayers,” she said. “He didn’t want changes made that were going to hurt the people who had voted for him.”

Handley has worked with Evans since she was elected nearly four years ago. She said that Evans helped to acquaint her with the ins and outs of town politics. “He was always willing to take time to answer my questions. I’m gonna miss him. He was too young,” she said.

“Jerry looked out for the interests of blue collar and retired folks,” said Greenwood. “He always seemed to invest an interest in looking after them in discussion at the board level.”

“Jerry brought a diversity to the board that was welcomed and helpful ...He was someone that has left a good legacy with the town and he will be missed.” — Joe Collins, Mayor of Franklin

“He was a fine person,” remarked Bob Scott, who has been an alderman for seven years now. “This was a big loss. Jerry was a wealth of knowledge when it came to town business. He was a dear friend and this has really hit me hard.”

Like Handley, Scott said that Evans taught him a lot about town politics. “I looked to him for guidance on a lot of issues,” he said, adding that infrastructure, water and sewer were always Evans’ biggest concerns.

Greenwood said that when the board decides to proceed with filling Evans’ seat, the aldermen will have to pick his successor. “Because he hasn’t gone past two years of serving, the individual that they pick will only serve until the end of November,” he noted.

After that point, a partial two year term will be up for election, along with three other seats, to finish out Evans' four year term, starting in December. The other positions will be be four year terms.

A memorial service was held for Evans at Bryant Funeral Home on Monday. Town of Franklin employees, Franklin Police and fire and rescue workers served as pallbearers.





Share
Macon County News is now on:
Find the Macon County News on Facebook! and Find the Macon County News on twitter!
Facebook   Twitter