Evans, Dorothy Olympia Jordan (Mrs. James O.)

8/4/2009

Dec. 29, 1924 - Aug. 4, 2009

Dorothy Olympia Jordan was born December 29, 19 24 , in Luna , Louisiana , (Ouachita Parish) south of West Monroe . She was the youngest of five children born to James Crate Jordan and Nannie Cotten Jordan. Dorothy graduated from Ouachita Parish High and later received her B.S. in Home Economics and M. S. in Education from Louisiana Tech.

Dorothy married James O. Evans March 23, 19 45 during World War II. In 1955 he enrolled in seminary to prepare for the ministry. When church members asked if she could play the piano for worship, Dorothy was fond of saying, “No, I married a paratrooper, not a preacher!” From the first day James told Dorothy of his call into the ministry she was supportive in every way. Her school teaching helped support the family while James attended seminary.

Dorothy served her profession well, teaching in secondary schools throughout Louisiana . This creative cook and gracious hostess spread a bountiful table to everyone who came to their door. Her recipes appeared in nationally published cookbooks. When Dorothy and James retired to Ruston they established their farm, Evans' Eden , where they raised and sold ferns, trees, shrubs, and fruit for over twenty years. Visiting with and educating customers was Dorothy's special delight. Her peach cobblers were popular at church luncheons, and her Peach Trifle won the Cooking Contest at the Ruston Peach Festival.

The church was Dorothy's second home. Her father was lay leader at the Luna Methodist Protestant Church for many years. As a teenager she taught children's Sunday school classes and continued her ministry even after James retired. If there was no pre-school class in a church James was serving, Dorothy started one. The children were always quick to call her “Teacher” whenever they would see her in the community. Dorothy served in positions of leadership in all the congregations James ministered.

As a newly-wed, Dorothy assisted the wife of the pastor of Trinity Church ( Ruston ) in organizing a circle of the Woman's Society of Christian Service for wives of veterans returning from World War II to attend college. Dorothy continued to serve in the organization (now called United Methodist Women) the rest of her life. If no unit of the UMW existed at a church to which James was appointed, Dorothy started one. She even started the unit at Wesley Chapel near Ruston after James retired. Dorothy was elected to the Louisiana Conference UMW Nominating Committee and served eight years. As long as Dorothy's health allowed, she joined James in Kairos Prison Ministry at Winn Correctional Center and Epiphany Ministry at Swanson Youth Center in Monroe . Gifts in her memory continue to fund the latter.

James and Dorothy's children are Dr. Marilyn Whitley of Nashville , Tennessee , Jim H. Evans of Austin , Texas , and Dr. A. Wayne Evans , pastor of Grace UMC , Ruston . Dorothy was proudest of having raised their three children well, making herself available to them daily. All three earned multiple degrees and are active in United Methodist congregations. Dorothy died August 4, 2009 , after battling Alzheimer's disease for six years. Dorothy was laid to rest at Riser Cemetery in Ruston , and a celebration of her life was held at Trinity United Methodist Church .
Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2010