Teresa Susan Evans, age 57, of Huntington passed away — at home, in the loving embrace of her husband and sons — after a one-year struggle with brain cancer (glioblastoma) on Friday, June 11, 2021. The second of two children, Teresa was born on August 12, 1963 in Cincinnati to Larry and Linda (Jenkins) Hawkins.
As an adolescent, Teresa — inspired by an ascendant Chris Evert — caught the “tennis bug,” teaching herself to play against her family’s garage door. Undeterred by the lack of a girls’ tennis team at Amelia High School, Teresa earned four varsity letters competing on the boys’ team. Teresa also ran cross country in high school and — entirely unbeknownst to her husband and sons (until posthumously consulting her yearbook to write this) — was voted Homecoming Queen, Prom Queen, Class Officer, “Best Personality,” “Most Popular,” “Best Looking,” “Prettiest Smile,” and “Prettiest Hair” by her 200 classmates in the class of 1981.
Teresa then attended Otterbein College, from which she earned a bachelor of science in nursing in 1985. At Otterbein, Teresa started on the women’s varsity tennis team until a scheduling conflict forced her to prioritize clinical nursing requirements over tennis. After college, Teresa worked as a pediatric RN at Columbus’s Children’s Hospital, where she began dating Chief Pediatric Resident (and fellow Cincinnati Reds die-hard) Joe Evans, whom she married in December 1986. After moving to Huntington, Joe’s hometown, Teresa continued full-time RN work until giving birth to her first child in 1989 — immediately finding her true calling: being a mother. Ever since, Teresa’s family enjoyed the world’s greatest gift — her unconditional love, time, and attention as a devoted mother, wife, daughter, sister, and aunt.
Outside her cherished role as the family’s selfless, “pass-first” point guard, Teresa — an indefatigable community servant, despite her late-1990s multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis — logged thousands of hours volunteering at her sons’ schools and Westmoreland United Methodist Church (WUMC). Among countless other things, Teresa spearheaded a “Smokey Sue” anti-smoking campaign, filled in as a mascot during middle-school pep rallies (much to her younger son’s embarrassment), and directed WUMC’s “children’s church” rendition of The Story of Moses.
Scant time not dedicated to others Teresa spent on personal passions. Teresa cherished physical activity, from carrying Joe to victory in mixed-doubles tennis matches, to participating in multi-day long-distance cycling rides, to working out at the YMCA each morning before waking her sons for school. Even after MS eroded her capacity for high-intensity exercise, Teresa remained physically fit by taking her dogs on miles-long hikes and undertaking ambitious gardening and landscaping projects in her family’s backyard. With limitless empathy for all living beings, Teresa transitioned from vegetarianism to veganism in the early-mid 2000s, leading her family to dub her “West Virginia’s first vegan.” Years later, Teresa cemented her already-legendary animal-loving reputation through a multi-day, mid-winter effort to rescue a distressed, freezing stray cat from a towering Ritter Park oak tree. After her last-ditch strategy — broiling salmon and bacon on a portable charcoal grill — failed to lure the famished feline to safety, the Fire Department relented to Teresa’s increasingly desperate pleas to save the panicked kitten, whom she named Cooper and adopted as her then-sixth living four-legged companion.
Teresa is survived by her husband, Joe; sons, Clark, of Chicago, and Ross (Alison Nathanson — to be wed in August 2021), of New York; mother, Linda, of Huntington; brother, Larry, Jr. (Donna), of Jasper, IN; beloved canine, Louie; and dozens of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and brothers- and sisters-in law). Teresa’s father preceded her in death. On Wednesday (June 16, 2021), the family will welcome visitors in their backyard from 4:00-5:30 PM and 6:30-8:30 PM. On Thursday (June 17, 2021), the family will hold a relatives-only graveside service at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington.
Rather than sending flowers, consider making a 501(c)(3) charitable contribution in Teresa’s memory to the Western West Virginia Animal Rescue Alliance (WWVARA) via PayPal (paypal.me/WWVARA or WWVARA@gmail.com), phone (304-696-5551), or mailed check (1901 James River Road, Huntington, WV 25701).