Grampa Bill's G. A. Pages
Richard L. Evans Richard L. (Louis) Evans

1906 - 1971
  • Born 1906 Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Baptized 1914; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Mission to Great Britain 1926-1929
  • Married to Alice Ruth Thornley; four children
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Council of Seventy 1938-1953
  • Ordained Apostle and called to Twelve 1953-1971
  • Died 1971 Salt Lake City, Utah

    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 children.

    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 efficiency.

    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.

    LDS Biographical Encyclopedia; Andrew Jensen; Vol. 4, p. 236
    Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation; Lawrence R. Flake; p. 497
    The Ensign; Dec. 1971; "Elder Richard L. Evans: Apostle of the Lord" Elder Marion D. Hanks; p. 2
    The Ensign; Dec. 1971; "Funeral Services for Elder Richard L. Evans"; p. 10
    1999-2000 Church Almanac; p.61
    Encyclopedia of Mormonism; Vol. 4, Appendix 1

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