George Rawling Evans
April 30, 1969 - January 11, 2023
Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend like George Evans. I’ve been fortunate to call him a friend for two-thirds of my life.
I met George in August of 1987 at the beginning of our freshman year at the University of South Carolina. We were pledge brothers in our fraternity. One of the requirements of being a pledge was learning the full name and hometown of every member. I realized pretty quickly that it was likely that George Rawling Evans from Charleston, SC was going to be a life-long friend.
George had a quick mind that enabled him to find comedy or irony in almost any situation and he had an easy and infectious laugh. From making fun of our middle names during those first few weeks of school (“all right, Francis!”), to hatching an ill-conceived plan for euthanizing a hypoglycemic hamster during our senior year (don’t ask!), we spent a lot of time laughing.
George was extraordinarily kind, and despite his considerable intellect and many talents, he was completely devoid of pretension. George was also a huge music fan. During our sophomore year, he insisted we go see some solo acoustic act I’d never heard of at a small club near campus; I’ve been a John Prine fan ever since.
We worked as pages together in the Lieutenant Governor’s office our senior year. When not in class or working, we’d put some big mid-80s stereo speakers in the front windows of our house on Gladden Street, blast some R.E.M., Willie Nelson, John Prine (or someone else our neighbors probably didn’t want to hear in the middle of the afternoon), and spend countless hours playing catch with a football or baseball. Along with our other roommate, Tee Miller, we’d watch hours (and hours) of Andy Griffith reruns. When it was time to eat, we’d occasionally adhere to our novel (though now fully discredited) ALL-carb diet.
The Atlantic has a piece out this week that checks in on the longest-running study on human happiness, the Harvard Study on Human Development. The key finding so far (after 85 years) is a strong correlation between deep relationships and well-being. One of the reasons that George had such close friends, I think, is that he was genuinely interested in getting to know people. And he lacked the ego or other hang-ups that might have prevented others from really getting to know him. I’m pretty sure most of George’s friends’ lives are better because of their relationship with him. Mine is and I’m going to miss him.
My thoughts are with Laura, Caroline, and his parents, Shay and George. I’ll be supporting Joe Riley‘s fundraising on Geo’s behalf for LLS and look forward to being helpful in any way I can in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Rest in peace, George.
– John Leary
January 22, 2023