Thursday, May 24, 2018
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1st Luna Pier mayor led incorporation drive, was in office 20 years

LUNA PIER - Clyde R. Evans, the first mayor of Luna Pier and a former chairman of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, died Monday in the nursing center of Leesburg (Fla.) Regional Medical Center. He was 80.

Mr. Evans, of Luna Pier, died of a stroke, his wife, Marguerite, said. He was a patient in the medical center and its nursing center for about nine days.

He was Luna Pier's mayor from 1963 to 1983 and retired from the post after he decided not to seek an 11th term, his wife said. He was named the first vice chairman of TMACOG in 1968. Two years later he became the organization's chairman, and two years after that he resumed the vice chairman's post for a two-year term.

In 1978, Mr. Evans was given the David K. Bennett Memorial Award for public administration by the Toledo Metropolitan Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration. In 1985, he received a Chairman Emeritus Award from TMACOG in recognition for his role in forging and supporting intergovernmental ties in the greater Toledo area that spanned state boundaries.

“Being mayor of the city of Luna Pier was his greatest joy,” Mrs. Evans said. “Clyde and a few others decided they wanted to get something for their taxes. So, they looked into what they needed to do to get Luna Pier incorporated as a city.”

Mr. Evans led the incorporation drive.

While serving as mayor, Mr. Evans also was Luna Pier's city administrator, road superintendent, and city assessor. He was a founding member of TMACOG and was the last charter member to serve on the regional planning agency's executive board.

After retiring from the mayor's post, Mr. Evans remained Luna Pier's assessor, and the city's road administrator and community development head until replacements were appointed by city council.

“He just loved the political involvement for the betterment of the community,” Mrs. Evans said. “When we first moved here, he helped organize a fire department that became the Luna Pier Fire Department after the city was incorporated.”

Mr. Evans won the respect of Luna Pier residents and other public officials for his ability to win community improvement grants from the state of Michigan and the federal government.

One grant helped pay for construction of a $2.9 million, two-mile concrete dike that opened up a view of Lake Erie from Luna Pier's waterfront, and curbed chronic flooding that plagued the community.

The dike was completed in 1984 and replaced a temporary “rock box” dike constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after severe flooding in 1973. Mr. Evans, long out of the mayor's office, believed the dike was the crowning achievement of his political career.

“I think his greatest joy came from helping people to improve themselves,” his son, Robert, said. “The voters of Luna Pier seemed to feel that he was a leader who had integrity and cared for people. That's why they elected him so many times.”

From 1949 to 1968, Mr. Evans owned a hardware store in Luna Pier, and from 1958 to 1965, he operated a marine business at the same location. His son, Michael, recalled that in the 1960s his father designed, built, and sold as many as 100 wooden boats that he named “Piercraft.”

“They were 14 to 171/2 feet long and he sold the outboard motors that went with them,” the younger Mr. Evans said. “He thoroughly enjoyed his accomplishments. My dad was a people person and running a hardware store in those days was a people business because the store was a gathering place for people to meet on Saturdays.”

A 1939 graduate of the former DeVilbiss High School in Toledo, Mr. Evans served with the Eighth U.S. Army Air Force in England during World War II, helping to schedule B-24 bomber flights over occupied Europe.

He was a member of American Legion Post No. 0193, the Erie VFW Post No. 27, and he was an active Mason.

Surviving are his wife of 59 years, Marguerite; sons, Robert, Gary, and Michael; daughter, Linda Saunders; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in the David R. Jasin Funeral Home, where the body will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow. Steverson Hamlin and Hilbish Funeral Home, Tavares, Fla., handled arrangements in Florida.

The family requests tributes to the First Presbyterian Church, Erie, or to the Senior Nutritional Center, Luna Pier.

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