Francis James Evans
Rising Star, TX
Francis James Evans , age 69, of Rising Star passed away Sunday, August 10, 2014 in Hamilton, TX. Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Rising Star on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 with Frank McIlhaney officiating; burial will follow in the Rising Star Cemetery.
He was born on July 18, 1945 in Brownwood, Texas to Francis Elmer and Myrtle Erie Chapman. In 1968-69 he served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam with the 3rd Battalion/26th Marine Regiment/Kilo Co. After leaving the marine corps he worked as a welder and enjoyed building barbecue pits and attending cook-offs.
He is survived by his four sons, Tim Evans and wife Melissa of Rising Star, TX, Tony Evans and wife Miriam of Chico, CA, Ronnie Evans and wife Dianne of Springtown, TX, Jimmy Evans and wife Donna of Early, TX, sister Carol Owen of Rising Star; twelve grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Alice Lockhart and Ruby McGowan.
I first met “Tex” when BLT 3/26 returned from Operation “Bold Mariner/Russell Beach” in early Feb. 1969. “Kilo” Co. returned to the USS Ogden, in preparation for another combat operation, “Taylor Common,” in the “Arizona Territory” north of An Hoa. I had just arrived “In Country” and was a brand new 2nd Lt. “Tex” ,at the time, was a Lance Corporal assigned as one of my squad leaders. I had a brief few days to meet and get to know the platoon before we were helo’d into the Operation. Fortunately for me, the first few days were relatively uneventful. “Kilo” was operating independently, so in the evenings we “circled the wagons” so to speak, established a company perimeter, and sent out listening posts which, for some unknown reason, were called “Killer Teams.” One evening 1st Platoon had a “KT” of 4 Marines out when, in the early morning hours before dawn, it popped a red star cluster and announced via the radio that it was returning to the perimeter. After some questioning it became clear that the “KT” hadn’t made any enemy contact, but just wanted to get back to the company. The “KT” members must have been from Tex’ s squad, because I remember telling him to get that bunch “squared away,” or something to that effect. Not more than 15 minutes later this PFC I didn’t even know came running across the platoon area, screaming like a banshee, with blood all over his face. Tex appeared shortly after, walking nonchalantly back to his squad’s assigned area. I asked him what the hell had happened to that PFC (James Ludwig), and Tex matter-of-factly replied, “You told me to take care of it, so I did.” That pretty much summed up Tex’s style; he took care of things! Taylor Common was a grueling operation and when we finally pulled out in March, 1st Platoon may have had 20 Marines left, and that was with weapons Platoon M-60’s included. We ended up at Hill 55, where the 7th Marines were based, for a few days of rehab, and I think Tex was at the end of his tour. I don’t remember him going with us into the mountains on operation “Oklahoma Hills” that came next.
In January 2007 I was in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, facilitating a 2-week leadership development course for TSA at DFW, so I got hold of Tex in Rising Star. I drove out to his place early on the Saturday morning between classes, and spent the weekend with him and Sherry. He drove me around Rising Star, showed me where he was raised, and what was left of a town which at one time had close to 4000 residents. Tex had a pool table set up in his garage, and we played pool and drank beer from about noon until supper time on Saturday. We then drove to some other town to have a huge steak dinner, and a large number of his family were there as well. After that, we returned to Rising Star and played pool/drank beer until midnight, maybe later. When we couldn’t stay awake any longer, Tex took me to his RV camper, told me good night, and I hit the sack. The next morning we had a humongous breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and I don’t know what else. But it was way more than I could ever begin to finish. Around noon, I had to get on the road and return to DFW, which was more than 2 hours driving time.
My point in telling this is to underscore why that visit epitomized, to me, who Tex was. He opened his home to me and treated me like royalty. As he said in Feb. 1969, “He took care of it.” Tex took care of his family and his friends all his life. To me, he was not only a friend, but a brother who served his country, his family and his friends, and “took care of it.” We lost a good one in “Tex” - Francis James Evans. It was a privilege to have known him and to be his friend.
By: Tom Hickinbotham
2nd Lieutenant - 3/26 Marines/
Kilo Co. - 1st Platoon
Vietnam - 1969