Remembering Ron Evans
April 27, 1933 to January 3, 2016
On January 11 we celebrated the life of Ron Evans who was part of the L’Arche Greater Vancouver community for more than 20 years. During the service various people shared their favourite memories of Ron and his gifts to our community. Here are excerpts of those memories as shared by Denise Haskett, our Community Leader/Executive Director, Tammi Kitching, who was a house-mate of Ron’s at Creation House and Keith and Judy Evans, Ron’s brother and sister-in-law.
I wanted to share a few words about Ron’s journey in L’Arche. It is, I believe, a divine coincidence that at our Advent Day of prayer in early December, Hollee Card who Community Leader when we welcomed Ron, wanted to share with us the story of his coming. It was very moving to hear it that day. Of course we did not know at the time, that less than two months later we would be celebrating his life together. She wanted to share Ron’s story because the theme of the day was “How do we make room in hearts for peace?” In relation to that, we reflected on a few other questions…how do we make room for and welcome the person who is in front of us…in the community, in our family? How do we make room for the stranger? We talked about how, as we welcome the other, we are actually welcoming Jesus.
Hollee shared that at the time we met Ron, the family he was living with could no longer continue to support him and the ministry was urgently looking for a place for Ron to live. They knocked on our door and in fact there was no ‘room at the inn’ except one tiny room up in Unity House which was technically too small according to licensing standards. Also we were only licensed to support 11 people in the Shiloah building and welcoming Ron made it 12. There was some thought that maybe he could be part of September House and just have his bedroom up in Unity. However the team at September House was not too sure about the idea and they had a house meeting to discuss it. Bill Collins, who lived in September House, and was one of the founding core members at L’Arche, was listening quietly to the conversation and not saying a word….then suddenly he got up, went downstairs to his room and came back with a photo of his bowling team. He pointed out Ron and said…Ron is my friend, we should welcome Ron. Well that clinched it. An assistant in Unity House who had a room not much bigger than the tiny room that was empty, agreed to move very quickly to give Ron his room and the licensing department broke their own rules so Ron could move in with us. Looking back it was clear that Ron was meant to be with us and the Holy Spirit paved the way and helped us to make room both in our hearts and practically. We immediately fell in love with Ron and he fit into community life so beautifully drawing people to him with his infectious smile, his laugher and his vulnerability.
So in June 1994 Ron moved to L’Arche to be part of September House (which is now Bethel House) and had his bedroom up in Unity House. Ron needed a bigger bedroom and L’Arche needed a new house with more accessible rooms so in September 1996 we opened a new house which was named Emily House. Ron moved to Emily House with all his housemates from September House, Bill, Rosie, Philip and Rick. In 1999 he moved with his friend Bill to live in Creation House with Craig and Arthur. All these years Ron enjoyed being part of the Emmaus Center and the fun activities there. He loved baking, making cards, helping to prepare Friday lunches and going on outings. In 2001 he retired from the Emmaus Center and was part of the Elders program which was based in Creation House where he could live life at a much slower pace.
We are so grateful for Ron’s peaceful, gentle presence for over 20 years in our Community. We are all richer for having known him. I would also like to take this opportunity to Thank Ron’s family for their faithfulness and kindness to our community and heartfelt thanks to the Creation team as they walked with him with such tenderness and love.