Landscapes 14

John William Evans

June 4, 1925 ~ April 20, 2022 (age 96)


John W. Evans, 96 of Brighton, CO, formerly of Phillipsburg, MO, and Sun Prairie, WI, passed away on Wednesday April 20, 2022. John was born on June 4, 1925, to Thomas L Evans and Ann Brown Evans in Avoca, WI.

He grew up in southwestern Wisconsin where he developed a love for horses, dogs, and hunting at an early age. In 1943 he enlisted in the US Navy and served during World War II aboard a mine sweeper in the Pacific. Upon his honorable discharge, he entered business college in Madison, WI, where he studied for 2 years.

While still in school, he met a pretty, young lady who worked at a soda fountain near the college. On April 29, 1948, he married Betty Jane Hansen. They built a wonderful, long life together.  He was a loving husband and father. Aside from their two daughters, hunting, fishing, dogs, horses, snow skiing, traveling, and bird dog field trials were their passions.

John’s love of bird hunting drew him to the sport of field trials; he entered his first trial in 1955.  He made it a family affair.  He was a founding member of the Southern Wisconsin Pointing Dog Club, serving as its president for many years.

He was a founder and first president of the Wisconsin Association of Field Trial Clubs.  During his tenure as president, he worked diligently to acquire the use of and develop new field trial venues, including Pine Island WMA Field Trial Grounds (Portage, WI), Bong Airbase (now Bong State Park at Kansasville, WI), and Buena Vista Marsh WMA/Prairie Chicken Habitat (Plover, WI)

He began work to create the Midwestern Open Shooting Dog Championship in 1963; it became the National Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship in 1972. He served as President and trial chairman of that National Championship for an additional seventeen years.

Moving to Missouri in 1994, John became an active member of the SW Missouri Sportsmen’s Club for twenty years, where he led the campaign for Lee Cruse’s election to the Field Trial Hall of Fame. He assisted with planting feed strips and donated seed and fertilizer. In later years he could be found driving the dog wagon at club events. John had a great love for the grounds and the people at the Grovespring venue.

John and Betty were owner-operators of Merry Hill Kennel, where John spent 20 years, training professionally and raising setters and pointers.  A list of his best dogs included 3x Runner-Up CH Zev’s Lad Kim (Setter), CH Merry Hill Spice (Setter), CH Little Rapa Luke (Brittany), CH Clarence (Red Setter), Runner-Up CH Billy’s Little Ben (Pointer), 2x CH Full Force Buck (Pointer) , Merry Hill Doll, Merry Hill Wonspot, and Smokepole’s Ricochet.

John was always willing to help a fellow field trialer or field trial club and served in many capacities. He encouraged and educated new people about bird dogs and worked to get children interested in the hunting sports, all of which earned him many friends.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Ann Evans, a brother, Thomas Evans, Jr; sisters Joan Slark, Donna Jensen, Ardis Hansen, and Carol Walls.

He is survived by his wife, Betty; two daughters, Marjorie Glass (Mike) of Klamath Falls, OR and Bonnie Hidalgo (Dennis) of Brighton, CO; four grandchildren, John Nesson of Sun Prairie, WI, Mark Nesson (Cyndi) of Rio, WI, Chad Glass (Anna) of Grant’s Pass, OR and Christine Maynard (Henry) of West Linn, OR, and seven great grandchildren, Robbie Nesson, Ben Glass, Isaac Glass, Aubree Nesson, Savana Nesson, Cara Maynard, and Clayton Maynard. He is also survived by step granddaughters, Shawn-Dee Hidalgo (Mike) and Brandee Hidalgo; step great granddaughter Leigha Theis-Hidalgo, and several nieces and nephews.

An informal celebration of John’s life will be held at the Missouri Championship in March 2023 in Grovespring, MO. Memorial donations may be made in John’s name, to “Field Trial Sportsman’s Association” for the benefit of the field trial grounds at Grovespring, MO. Donations (tax deductible) may be mailed to: Field Trial Sportsmen’s Association c/o Ken Schmidt, 3988 Benne Rd. Defiance, MO 63341.


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