Thomas Earl Evans, a proud member of the Skidi band of the Pawnee Nation, passed away on December 5, 2019, while visiting family in Abilene, Texas. He was born on October 6, 1949, in Bellville, Texas, the son of Betty and Gene Evans.
After surviving stomach cancer eight years earlier, he developed complications from pneumonia treatment at the age of 70 years.
Tom grew up in Tishomingo and Ardmore, Oklahoma and graduated from Abilene High School. He felt compelled by love of country and tribe to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, serving in the 1st Bn., 5th Marine, 1st Mar Div. During his service he earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal w/1 star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal w/device, and the Rifle Marksmanship Badge. Upon returning he graduated from Abilene Christian College with a degree in history. He moved to Austin, Texas, where he met the love of his life, Arlene. They soon moved to Pawnee to be closer to family and the Pawnee Nation. It was his honor to serve the tribe in various roles including with the Veterans Organization as Drum Keeper, the Housing Authority, and a member of the Pawnee Nation Business Council.
Tom spent 12 years working in Washington, D.C., at the Cultural Resource Center for the Smithsonian's Nation Museum of the American Indian. His role there was to assist scholars from around the world as they studied the massive collection of artifacts from the Americas. When he retired, he was granted Emeritus status, then returned to his home in Pawnee, where he found great joy in being Uppit to his two wonderful granddaughters.
He was incredibly skilled in native beadwork and other native arts and enjoyed creating items for others. Whenever asked, he was pleased to share the knowledge he had amassed over a lifetime of study of the Pawnee language and culture.
Tom is survived by his devoted wife of 45 years, Dr. Arlene Evans of Pawnee; his two daughters, Dr. Jacqueline Evans (William Bass); and Jessica Sunny Evans (Shane McMurry), both of Pawnee; as well as his beloved granddaughters, , Charlotte "Charlie" Bass and Joanna "Pitku" Bass. He is also survived by his mother, Betty Evans of Abilene, Texas; his brothers, Robert Evans of Georgetown, Texas; Stacy Evans of Abilene, Texas; and Dr. Gene Evans of Pawnee.
He was preceded in death by his father, Gene Evans, and his grandparents, Stacy and Rebecca Howell.
Services will be held Thursday 10:00 A.M. December 12, 2019 in the Pawnee Nation Roam Chief Event Center with Rev. Warren Pratt Jr. officiating, burial will follow in the North Indian Cemetery. Services were entrusted to the Poteet Funeral Home and Cremation Services, friends can leave a memory for the family at www.poteetfuneralhome.com
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Pawnee Indian Veterans Organization.