Born the son of immigrant parents from Worcester, England and Ennistymon, Ireland, Richard Evans was born in a tenement in the Bronx, New York. Economically poor and spiritually rich, Richard learned the importance of family. He was identified in the New York Time at the age of seven sneaking in and out of a boarded-up tenement bring food to his sister, Patty, his mother, Ita, and his father Thomas. As he grew, he met the challenges of the day and was determined to make something of himself.
As a teenager, he was one of the lifeguards of Jones Beach on Long Island, New York. He was a featured high diver at the Jones Beach Exhibition. Coming of age at the end of the Korean War, Richard enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was identified for excellence and selected to compete in the Air Force Commissioning Program know as the Aviation Cadets. He completed a year of Officer and Navigator Training. Upon completion, he was was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on the morning of graduation and awarded his first pair of wings that afternoon. He took more than wings from that experience. He met and Married Maria Duran, a Supply Sergeant at that time, who left the service because of the prohibition of officer and enlisted interactions, and chose to future serve as an Air Force Spouse.
A year later, Richard was selected to attend Undergraduate Pilot Training at Bainbridge, Georgia and Laredo, AFB, Texas. He completed training in the T-33 jet and was assigned to the Air Forces newest transport, the C-124 known as “Old Shaky”. High aptitude and skill sent him to Instructor Pilot Training at Randolph AFB, Texas.
After Instructor training, Richard and His family were assigned to Elmendorf AFB in anchorage Alaska. The young couple became three in March of 1957 when they added Ric Jr. To their young family. From Elmendorf, the family moved to California’s Bay Area and Travis AFB. There he flew missions to Southeast Asia in support of advisory and armory missions in support of the South Vietnamese allies. Richard and Maria added two new members to the Clan when Cindy (Cyd) and Ron were added to the ranks. They were now ready to slow down and raise their young family. That was not to be the case.
As the requirement in the Southeast Asian theater increased, Richard was called to the 50th Military Airlift Wing at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. This was an interesting move for the Evans’ since Ric had to call home and tell Maria that he would see her in Hawaii, in about a month, when she moved the family to their new home…alone. This was the start of a very eventful military career. After Hawaii, there was a six-month stint in New Burg, New York at Stewart AFB. From an active wintering the northeast the family picked up and moved to the St. Louis area and Scott AFB outside of Bellville, Illinois in 1966. The family called this area home for the next 10. Years.
The children began to lay roots and Maria stood out as a Red Cross Volunteer working Wounded Recovery Missions from Vietnam. Ric on the other hand, completed four assignments during that time. He transitioned into the T-39 Saber Jet and flew the Commander of the Military Airlift Command under the callsign of “Chaffe 30”. From there he retrained into the HH-43 “Pedro” Rescue Helicopter. He flew as the Rescue Commander out of Ubon, Thailand. Mission requirement for Pedro-One were classified except for one in 1971 where he flew Bob Hope to Christmas Shows in the area. Upon his return to the “world”, Ric Sr. Joined the Military Airlift Command’s Inspector General’s Office. Again, he was off to all parts of the United States, and the world ensuring readiness and compliance were met. He was now a Major and a college graduate from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His kids were growing up and his spouse was active in all school events. He was reassigned to The Governmental Affairs Office and was required to spend time in Washington DC throughout the week and then brief the General’s Staff. Always striving for excellence, he completed his Master of Business Administration, from Southern Illinois University. He was rewarded for his hard work with consideration for Command responsibility which would again move he and his supporting family…again.
He was promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Colonel and made the Comptroller for the 62nd Military Airlift Wing at McChord AFB, Washington. He was identified as the Best in the Command and was reassigned as the Deputy Commander for Resource Management which required him to oversee Supply, Logistics, Finance and Transportation. This responsibility garnered him promotion to the Grade of full Colonel. He progressed and was reassigned to the Theater Command of the American Forces in Korea which required him to return to the cockpit and certify in the F-4 Phantom. This was a special tour since this is where Maria had begun her military career and where Ric had decided to wind his down. Upon completion of his remote tour Ric returned to McChord where he completed his 27th year of service and joined the ranks of the service retired.
The Evans’, in short order became empty nesters and became members of the Gig Harbor, Washington, working professionals. He sold commercial real estate, prepared and litigated corporate taxes and oversaw investments and trusts. The Evans kids went on to successful careers in the Air Force, Finance and Corporate Sales. Ric and Maria became active in their adopted community and served both volunteer and religious missions in support of St. Nicholas’ Church. Ric was a board member of the Harbor Stone Credit Union and a valued member of the Gig Harbor business community.
In 1987, the two became grandparents with birth of their first grandson Jonathan Manfre to Daughter Cyd and son-in-law Michael. Shortly to follow were grand daughters, Sara-Marie (1992), Melanie (1993) and Brianna (1996) to Ric Jr. and former wife Andrea. Son Ron followed with a grandson Mitchell (2004) and grand daughter (Megan (2007) with his former wife Sarah.
In 2019, the clan again grew with the birth of great-grand daughter Seraphina to Jon and Serena Manfre. In December of that same year, Melanie gave birth to great-grand son, Conor, with Husband, Tyler. Grand daughter Sara-Marie and husband, Joshua, will welcome great-grand daughter, Adelynn in February of 2020. Ric Sr. was excited to to welcome the newest members to the family but was called to his reward before that was possible.
The light of his life, Maria and he were joined in marriage for 64 years, and together shared the wonders of the world, the unknown of military life, and the joys that only a family can bring. As parents, they met the challenges head-on giving their three offspring the tools to make them successful in life. Maria, “Mom”, is filled with anecdotes which will keep dad alive in everyone’s hearts for a very long time. She will carry on the family traditions and continue to guide as the matriarch she always was.
Dad was the cornerstone to a family that followed him to many parts of the world, and to heights that probably would not have occurred without his, and mom’s support. Son, Ric Jr. today is a Clinical Therapist, daughter Cyd is a Manager, Account Development and son Ron is a Director for Myriad Advisor Solutions. Mom is still active in her Church and a respected neighbor and friend.
(Thoughts of Ric, Ron and Cyd in honor of their father and mother)
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