Richard L.Evans was born March 23, 1906, in
Salt Lake City, Utah, the youngest of nine children born to John A. Evans and Florence Neslen.
His father died when he was but 10 weeks old, leaving
a bereaved widow with nine children to rear. From his youth Richard was made familiar
with the realities of life, and learned early through intelligent service
how to earn his own way through life.
Richard was baptized May 2, 1914 and received the Aaronic Priesthood as a
youth. After high school he entered the L.D.S. Univerity and later the University of Utah but left the
halls of academia and a generous scholarship for a higher calling when he filled a mission to Great
Britain between 1926-1929. During his mission to Great Britain he acted as associate editor of the
"Millennial Star" under James E. Talmage and Dr.
John A. Widtsoe. He also served as secretary of the European Mission. His distinctive command of
the English language, and effective speaking style were honed in countless street meetings and talks
given in the rough and tumble of Hyde Park where anyone with a soapbox can speak on any subject of
interest but must be prepared for heckling and abuse.
After returning home, Richard matriculated at the University of Utah where, in
1931, he received an A. B. degree. Continueing his studies, he was awarded an M. A. degree in 1932 by
the same school. During his academic career he married Alice Ruth Thornley who would bear him four
In addition to his school and family responsibilities, Richard was forced by economic necessity to pursue an avocation. His journalistic experience in editing the Millenial Star stood him in good stead as he secured employment with KSL Radio in Salt Lake City as a staff announcer. As such he was privileged to accompany the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to the San Diego Exposition as radio announcer, and also to Winter Quarters in September, 1936, at the dedication of the monument, as radio announcer. He was given the distinction of being the announcer over the radio with the clearest diction. Indeed, he is best known to the world as the voice of The Spoken Word, a part of the
weekly Mormon Tabernacle Broadcast. Elder Evans wrote, produced and announced
the coast-to-coast radio network program from the Salt Lake Tabernacle
from June, 1930 until his death in 1971.
He was appointed managing editor of the Improvement
Era in April, 1935, and filled that position with a rich background of
efficient Church service and wide experience in business, education and
editorial fields. He was named a member of the General Board of Y. M. M. I. A. in 1935.
He was ordained a Seventy, and sustained as a member of the First Council of Seventy Oct. 7, 1938.
Elder Evans was industrious, intelligent and sympathetic, a lover of truth and beauty, and, above all, he understood and practiced the principles
of the restored Gospel. He acquired his education by persistent effort
of his own, having worked at numerous occupations in order to attain his
Elder Evans was sustained to the Council of the Twelve and ordained an Apostle on October 8, 1953 by President David O. McKay,
succeeding Elder Albert E. Bowen, who had died.
He served with honor until his own death November 1,
1971 at Salt Lake City, Utah. In death he was mourned not only by members
of the Church but by the millions of non-members who listened regularly
to his radio ministry.
Sister Alice Thornley Evans, widow of Elder Evans, followed her husband in death
December 16, 2008 from causes incident to age.