Michael “Mike” Evans, of Inverness, Florida passed away on September 14th, 2023 at the age of 76.
Mike was born in Boise, Idaho on November 21, 1946 and moved with his mother, Vivian “Sara” McLeod, to Valparaiso, Florida at a very young age. He grew up in a house across the street from the Boggy Bayou. Fort Walton Beach and the rest of the Emerald Coast were his playground and he spoke fondly of his many adventures (and some youthful misadventures!) there. Mike attended Florida State University, graduating with a B.A. in 1972. After college he relocated to Tampa with his first wife, Suzie, where they raised their family. Mike worked in retail and for the Job Service of Florida before finding his passion for economic development late in his career. He contributed to many development projects in the Tampa Bay area and later in Taylor County before retiring in Tampa with his wife Chris, to whom he was married for 30 years. Mike and Chris were smitten with the “Old Florida” charm of Citrus County and relocated to Inverness 7 years ago.
As a proud FSU alumnus, Mike fervently followed FSU sports throughout his life and especially the Noles’ football program. He attended games for many years and enjoyed the progression from “running” the tailgate party to “attending” as the treasured guest. Fall family gatherings were planned around FSU football, and when he and Chris could not attend in person, they gathered with the family around the huge TV screen to watch, cheer, analyze and cheer some more.
Mike loved baseball from a young age and still marveled that he could see so many games on television! He was as excited as a schoolboy when Tampa Bay got a baseball team and he and Chris whiled away many hours cheering on the Rays. He also had a stamp collection and enjoyed learning the history behind the stamps and comparing notes with friends who also collected stamps.
Mike was also a lover of books, which he inhaled. His interests spanned many topics and he was usually reading 2 or more books at a time which might include pulp fiction, a “serious” biography, and a third or fourth reading of favorite works by Faulkner or Michael Shaara. He read books about world history, baseball, the movies and cooking. He loved the South and was an accomplished cook and grill-master. He made delicious meals and would regale guests with interesting stories he may have read about a new recipe he made. Food was always part of the experience, whatever that experience might be. Many happy memories were made over a plate of stone crab claws, a grouper sandwich and a beer by the Gulf.
In addition to books, Mike spent hours every day keeping up with current events online and enjoyed engaging in discussions about some of them. He was adept at listening to other people and open-minded enough to acknowledge their opinions even when they did not match his own.
Outgoing and curious throughout his life, Mike would observe people when he was out and about and start conversations with people he found particularly interesting. It wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary for him to talk to the person scanning his groceries for 10 minutes because they had something interesting in common.
Michael…Mike…Dad…Grandpa…Poppa will be missed so very much - more than words can really convey.
He is survived by his wife Chris, his sons Michael, Kelly and his wife Jenna, his daughter Kim Rudolph, and her husband Mark, and three cherished grandchildren, Cameron Rudolph, Fraser Evans, and Emerson Evans. Mike is also survived by his sister-in-law Phyllis Geiger, sister Sara Dougherty and niece Donna Pettus.
There will be a celebration of life at a later date.
Services entrusted to the care of Heinz Funeral Home, Inverness, Florida. www.heinzfh.com.