John Howard Evans, an ordained minister who served the Episcopal Dioceses of New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island and who was the last Chaplain to serve Ellis Island detainees before the facility closed in 1954, died on May 31, 2016 at the age of 98. He was a resident of Brookdale Sakonnet Bay, a senior living community in Tiverton, RI.

Born on December 2, 1917, the third of six children of Rev. Irving E. Evans and Emily Equi Evans, he is survived by nine nieces and nephews. He was a graduate of the Moses Brown School (1936), Brown University (1940), and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University (1943). He was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1943 and as priest in Pittsfield, MA in 1944. After retiring in 1980, he went on to serve as minister of the Church of the Holy Cross in Middletown, RI from 1982 to 1991.

Throughout his ministry and retirement, John Evans’s poetry and songs and his sing-along performances and concerts on the harp and other instruments entertained and moved audiences throughout the northeast. Featured in newspaper articles as the Singing Preacher, he appeared on television and was the subject of a 1953 ABC TV film about his Ellis Island ministry.

A celebration of John Evans’s life will take place on Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 324 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI. A reception at the church will precede the service from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Evans Endowed Scholarship Fund, Development Office, St. Andrew’s School, 63 Federal Rd., Barrington, RI 02806 or The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., 17 Battery Place, #210, New York, NY 10004-3507.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.