Formerly of Iola, Jay Dale Evans, born Sept. 10, 1939, passed away peacefully in his home in the early morning of Dec. 28, 2017, surrounded by the three people he loved most. He was 78 and had lived life to the fullest. He is preceded in death by his parents, Marie Evans and C. E. “Jim” Evans, as well as his two older brothers, Ron Evans and Larry Evans. Jay leaves behind a long line of people that were impacted by his presence in their lives, but none greater than his wife, Pam, daughters, Kelly and Carly and his five grandchildren.
Jay was a giant of a man at 6-4 who had arms to rival Popeye and a heart to match. He excelled athletically in all things but most notably in football. He graduated from Highland Park High School where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for lettering in three sports in three years. He received a full ride scholarship to play football at Kansas State University where he was the team captain his senior year, and was second in the Big 8 in yards receiving. He was selected for and played in the prestigious Blue Gray Game his senior year where he played with the top players in the country and received the notice of professional football scouts. He was drafted to play for the Denver Broncos and did so from 1958 to 1961. He gave up his professional football career when he was selected for Officer Candidate School for the USMC, where he served with honor and distinction from 1961 to 1967 completing two tours of duty in Vietnam and achieving the rank of Captain. He was one of the most highly decorated Marines of the Vietnam War. He received the combat medal, Navy Cross, Silver Star, three Purple Hearts, three Air Medals, Combat Gold Wings and three personal citations from the Vietnamese government, one of which was the Cross of Gallantry with 4 gold stars — the equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor from the U.S.
After being honorably discharged from the USMC, he met and married Pam Hodder in October 1967. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. After having two children, they settled in Iola, where he was an independent oil producer. Later in life, he and Pam moved to the Lake of the Ozarks where he started the Ozark Pickle Pantry. Jay loved spending time on the water with his family and friends, as well as collecting and selling various antiques.
Jay was a quiet man of few words, filled with honor and integrity. He was known for his dependability and loyalty. He gave selflessly and generously to all and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him loved and respected him. He will be greatly missed.
As per his wishes there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to The Church at Osage Hills and donate to the Buddy Pack program which was close to his heart or SemperFiFund at www.semperfifund.org/donate/ways-to-donate to help his fellow Marines and their families.
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