Each of our lives matter and have purpose. Some of us go through our life’s journey, not really understanding our purpose, others are fortunate enough to recognize their purpose early on, and make choices to fulfill their destiny. Claudia Rae Del Lee Evans was a person who came to understand early in her life that her purpose was to be a vessel of love, support and of service to others.
Claudia was born on September 20, 1932 to the late Katherine Simpson and Bammer Lee in Tyler, Texas. She was the fourth generation Tyler native. She was the first born in a family of fifteen children. She recalled that the first one of her siblings she consciously remembered caring for was her sister Belvia (Betty), who was seven years younger than she. This was probably one of her first forays on her journey of love, care, service and support for others, as she played a pivotal role in caring for her all of her siblings. Understanding African American culture, particularly in her era, the oldest daughter takes on the role of surrogate mother, to her younger siblings. Claudia took her role seriously and continued in that role throughout her life.
In 1944 the family relocated to Omaha, Nebraska. In September of 1945 she enrolled in South High School, the same school her “sister Aunt” Margie had graduated from in June. In 1949 Claudia graduated from South High and began her studies at Omaha State (which eventually became the University of Nebraska, Omaha). She thrived both socially and academically majoring in Early Childhood Education and joining Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. In 1951 her life took a different focus when she met a young man in the Air Force stationed in Omaha. She eventually married that “young man” Albert Evans, and together they had five children; Lawrence, Sherri, Michael, Angela and Martin. Her life as an Air Force Wife, allowed her an opportunity to travel both domestically and internationally, as Albert was stationed in Texas, Alabama, Colorado, Nevada and Japan.
At the age of 29 Claudia decided to pursue a career that would allow her to utilize her gifts of love, caring and support and enrolled in Washoe County Nursing School in Reno, Nevada where she successfully completed her studies and became a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Over the next thirty years she worked for George Wheelwright, Vallejo General Hospital, Bayside Convalescent Home and for Lawrence Posner M.D.
At the age of 35 her beloved mother passed away suddenly leaving 5 children under the age of 18. Claudia said she instantly knew she had to move to California and care for her siblings, and her Grandmother Clara, because its what her mother would want her to do. Her motherly duties increased from 4 to 9. She watched the children grow, graduate from high school and pursue various professional and academic endeavors. Her legacy of love and support was imparted to her children many of whom have chosen professions that allow them to practice what she taught them about giving back and supporting their fellow man. It should be noted that in addition to her “brood of nine, ” She loved, cared for, supported and mentored many of her nieces and nephews and her children’s friends.
Claudia was an avid reader and often traded romance novels with her beloved “Sister-Aunt” Margie. She loved crosswords puzzles and would spend countless hours completing numerous challenging puzzles. Claudia was a true sports fan! On Sunday afternoon’s you would find her glued to the television cheering on her favorite team with her boys. She was an avid 49ers fan and loved the Denver Broncos.
Claudia was preceded in death by her parents, her “Sister-Aunt” Margie James, two sisters, Sandra Diane Cook and Belvia Wilson, and two brothers Horace Lee and Willie Lee as well as her life long love and best friend Albert Evans and their infant son Lawrence. She leaves to cherish her memory two sons Michael Evans, and Martin Evans (Maricsa Evans), two daughters Sherri Evans (Abdullah Bomani) and Angela Evans (Malkia Morris), two sister-daughters Cathy Cook and Judy Beard (Kenneth Beard) and three “Brother-Son’s” James Cook, Ronald Cook (Belinda Cook), Stevie Lee ( Veronica Lee) as well as four sisters Priscilla Lee, Charlene Lee, Barbara Thompson (Leroy Thompson) and Clara Jewel Barrow and one brother Billy Lee and their families, four grandsons Jourdyn Marshall-Evans, Zion Linger, Noah Evans and Nathaniel Evans as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other loved ones and great friends.