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With deep sorrow we announce that Evan lost a short, but courageous battle with cancer. He passed peacefully in the early hours of October 20, 2021, his 48th wedding anniversary, with his wife and son at his side.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Jan, son Antony (Michelle), daughter Julie (Bill) and grandchildren Beth and Oli. Evan was predeceased by his mother Phyllis, father Evan Oliver and older brother Roy Benton.
Born in Hevingham, Norfolk, England, Evan came from a long line of farmers. He followed suit, working for his father at the age of 15 then managing his own farm. Ever the entrepreneur, he raised sheep, chickens and turkeys, grew wheat, and managed a small caravan/RV club on the property. He also bought and sold caravans/trailers, used cars, lawnmowers…practically anything with an engine.
Evan was a born problem solver with exceptional mechanical aptitude. He could always be found in a workshop or garage fixing, building, or repurposing something, or in a back lane or lot looking for parts and projects.
In 1984, at the age of 52, Evan, Jan and Antony emigrated to Canada seeking the promise of greater fortune in Canada’s wheat belt, Manitoba. He continued farming in the Bagot/Westbourne area for 10 years until economic pressures of the era forced him and his family out of farm life.
The family qualified for a rural transition grant program which saw Evan return to school at the age of 59. He was so proud when he achieved his 5th Class Power Engineer's Certificate and High School equivalency. He secured a position with the Portage la Prairie School Division as night charge custodian at North Memorial School. Ever the extrovert, he made many friends in town and at the school and kids knew they could count on him for a candy as they left each day.
Evan had a life-long passion for aviation, a result of growing up in East Anglia during the war and watching many a bomber limp home from raids on overseas targets. He had an extensive library of WW2 history books and enthusiastically watched movies or documentaries on the subject, particularly those involving air combat. This fascination spilled over into a love of RC airplanes and his greatest joy was flying these with his son.
Evan had an exceptional ear for music and without any formal training learned to play the organ, piano-accordion, drums and harmonica. He loved his cats (in particular his long-time baby Annie, a rescue who cuddled with him every morning), watching F1 races, and bird watching from the screen porch he built from reclaimed pallets and siding.
Devoted husband, father and grandfather, you will be enormously missed by friends and family. We are lost without you.
Evan did not want a funeral and cremation has already taken place. The family has requested privacy in this time of loss and at Evan’s behest donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Portage Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), 121 12th Street NE, Portage la Prairie, MB, Canada, R1N 4A2 or Katie Cares, 255 13th Street, Winkler, MB, Canada, R6W 1S5.
Thanks go out to Dr. Omichinski, doctors and staff at the PDGH, and McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel (especially Darren) for taking care of arrangements.
A tree will be planted and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com 204-857-4021
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