James Wyndham Evans passed away peacefully in his sleep on the evening of Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Moscow.
Jim was born in Kingston, Pa., March 11, 1956, the second of eight children of George Wyndham Evans and Barbara Jane (Klein) Evans. Jim had a full life, from his enjoyment of the outdoors and active role in Boy Scouts of America, where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. After high school, Jim joined the U.S. Marines and served five years in Japan and Korea, working as a structural mechanic on aircraft.
After the military, Jim traveled for months in Europe and across North Africa with his brother Patrick. The following year, he traveled extensively throughout Asia with his brother Josh. He found a real love in travel, especially to remote locations in less-developed countries.
He returned to the U.S. and took a job doing demolition work on the Aleutian Island Chain in Alaska, where he worked for years dismantling outdated U.S. listening stations used to monitor the Soviet Union prior to the advent of satellites. From Alaska, Jim moved down to Moscow and pursued a bachelor’s degree at the University of Idaho, graduating with a respectable 4.0. While in Moscow, he worked in the soil’s lab at the USFS Research Station, where he greatly enjoyed the collegiate atmosphere.
But the travel bug bit again, and he soon left to join the Peace Corps where he worked for two years in Mali on guinea worm control. Afterward, he moved to Uganda where he worked for some time with a local nonprofit organization before taking a contract on the South Pole with the U.S. government. Jim spent several seasons working in Antarctica as a heavy equipment operator, including over-wintering at the South Pole Station. He loved the challenge and adventure of working at the Pole.
On one of his return trips from Antarctica, Jim traveled via Cambodia to visit his brother Patrick, who was based there. Together they went north to Mongolia to visit their brother Josh, who was serving in the Peace Corps at that time with his wife, Stephanie, in western Mongolia. A year later, Jim returned to Mongolia to travel with Josh and Steph overland on the Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow, Russia, and then across northern Europe before returning to the States.
That was Jim’s last major trip as he accepted a full-time position with the U.S. Forest Service in Quincy, Calif., where for the next 15 years he managed all the off-road trail network on the Plumas National Forest. He loved working and living in Quincy and spoke very highly of his friends and colleagues there. But after retiring in 2018, health issues caught up with him and, although he was working to regain his health first in Pennsylvania and then in Idaho over the past year, his heart let him down.
Jim is survived by his mother, Barbara Jane (Klein) Evans, in Wyoming, Pa., (94 years old this month); his brothers, Patrick, in Idaho, Josh and Dan, in California; sisters Mary Jo and Maria, in Pennsylvania; and sister Beth in Colorado; plus an extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Jim was a good guy and a great storyteller. He will be missed.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel of Moscow and condolences may be left at www.shortsfuneralchapel.com.