Thomas Irvin “Tom” Evans, 73
January 1, 1947 - August 5, 2020
TUPELO – Like Elvis, Cher, Beyonce or Liberace – Tupelo and Northeast Mississippi simply and profoundly knew, loved and respected him as the one and only TOM! Thomas Irvin Evans cut a wide path in his almost 73 years and will be long remembered as one of the kindest, most sincere, benevolent, and community-spirited souls to ever traverse these parts. Unforgettable Tom, after a two-week illness, took his seat at the heavenly Steinway Grand, joined the celestial choir and began his eternal reward on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 from the Hospice Unit of the North Mississippi Medical Center.
Born on Sept. 24, 1947 in Hamilton, Alabama, the only child of the late Pet and Jewel Irvin Evans, Tom grew up in Marion County as a “Mama’s baby,” graduated from Hamilton High School, and attended Itawamba Junior College. He fell in love with neighboring Northeast Mississippi, continued his formal education at the University of Mississippi receiving a BS Degree in Pharmacy. Tom professionally was a practicing pharmacist in Tupelo for over 35 years at the former TKE Drugs, T and S Drugs, and later at Fred’s. He incurred a major fall at his home over 20 years ago that rendered him unable to practice his profession any longer. Taught by his beloved Mother a strong ethic of civic and church responsibility, Tom immersed himself in the life of Tupelo, Lee County and Northeast Mississippi. Early on, he became interested in the Regional Rehabilitation Center in Tupelo, became a Board Member and, for the last 25 years, has served as Secretary-Treasurer. Twenty years ago, he hosted the first Kentucky Derby Party RRC fundraiser replete with dress, mint juleps, hats, and much fanfare over the race. It became one of the Regional Rehab’s most beloved and classy fundraisers with Tom as the quintessential host!! For his love and respect for the Derby, Churchill Downs, in Louisville, declared Wednesday, August 5, 2020, his day of departure, as Tom Evans Day at the historic Downs. His Tupelo home has become a landmark of culture, eccentricities, fine dining, elaborate entertainment, countless southern gospel singings and the headquarters for the liveliest Christmas parties in Tupelo for over 25 years. His music room alone contained two 12 foot Grand Pianos-one a Steinway, a pipe organ, Hammond electronic organ, fiddles, guitars and other musical instruments. Tom was a gifted and very talented pianist and organist himself, a connoisseur and lover of Southern Gospel Music in the tradition of the Stamps-Baxter Family, the Spears and J. D. Vaughan music enterprises, among others. He attended many gospel singing conventions around the South and was a former President of the Alabama State Gospel Music Singing Convention. His flamboyancy in dress and manners drew perfect attention and respect from friends and rank strangers alike. He was one of a kind human being, never meeting a stranger, never shying away from a task to make someone’s quality of life enriched and enhanced. Tom helped start the Robins Street Arts Festival, was active in the Northeast Miss. Symphony Orchestra, rarely missed a production of Tupelo Community Theatre and was often guest pianist at area nursing homes, esp. Methodist Senior Services and played for thousands of weddings, funerals and other events. He loved traveling to New York City to Broadway productions, was ever ready for a road trip and was always the life of the party. Tom was a committed man of great spiritual depth and faith. Born a Methodist, he was a longtime time member of the First United Methodist Church in Tupelo. Later in life, he found complete spiritual fulfillment as a member of the All Saints Episcopal Church where he faithfully served the Flower Guild, was faithful in all its ministries and was beloved by the entire parish. He loved the Book of Common Prayer, embroidered beautiful sacrament garments and altar kneelers and always could be counted on to decorate the Church for seasonal festivities, special occasions, weddings and funerals. Tom was a master floral designer and taught hundreds of florists and aspiring florists as Professor of Floral Design at Itawamba Community College for over 20 years. Not one second of his life was lived in vain and he left an unforgettable legacy of love, faith, service, stewardship and devotion to his enormous extended family of friends all over the country. He will be missed.
Tom is survived by cousins Freba Evans of Hamilton, AL, and Cavleen Evans Seeley (Art) of Huntsville, AL; his primary caregivers, Marty Brown of Pontotoc, and Steve Holland of Plantersville; and hundreds of thousands of admirers and friends who loved him supremely and would do anything for him.
A Sunset Celebration of his life will be held at 7 PM Friday, August 7, 2020 at the Cemetery at the Sadie J Farm (Holland Family farm 2.4 miles south of the 4-way stop on Hwy 6 in Plantersville going South) (3118 Hwy 6, Plantersville, 38862). Burial will immediately follow the graveside. Tom will lie in repose from 10 AM-1 PM today (Friday) at the Holland Funeral Directors-Tupelo Chapel and in the 105 year old Sanctuary at the Sadie J next to the Cemetery from 5 PM until the graveside at 7 PM. Father Phillip Parker of All Saints will officiate. Friends are invited, asked to follow Covid-19 recommendations and enjoy beverages and finger foods (which you can bring) and Southern gospel singing afterwards to celebrate Tom’s love for Southern Gospel music. Please bring lawn chair and dress casual. Holland Funeral Directors is honored to be serving one more special soul and close friend and his throng of followers.
Pallbearers will be Alan Worthey, Tim Prewitt, Lane Scott, Charlie Weeden, Lee Speaks, Terry Lytal, Mick Atherton, and Jeffrey Clay Hall.
Flowers are suggested and welcomed as well as memorials to Tom’s two favorite callings: The Regional Rehabilitation Center, 615 Pegram Drive, Tupelo, MS 38801, or All Saint’s Episcopal Church, 608 West Jefferson St., Tupelo, MS 38804. Please send your remembrances and reflections of Tom via email at email@example.com (662 840 5000).