(RNS) — Lois Evans, the wife of megachurch pastor and radio broadcaster Tony Evans, will be remembered at a funeral Monday (Jan. 6) at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas.
Lois Evans, 70, died Dec. 30 after being diagnosed with biliary cancer.
She had been an integral part of building the church and her husband's ministry.
“First and foremost, none of this would be here without Lois Evans,” said her husband in November, during a gala celebrating the release of his Bible commentary and study Bible.
“I want to publicly thank you for the love and commitment that you have shown when nobody else was there.”
During that celebration, the couple's grandchildren presented Lois Evans with roses one at a time.
In an interview just before that ceremony at his predominantly black nondenominational church, Evans told Religion News Service that “we have a strong faith, we are stable in the midst of instability and uncertainty.”
Though she was known mostly as the woman behind Evans, his church and “The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans” broadcast, Lois Evans also served for many years on the National Religious Broadcasters board. She stepped down in recent months from the NRB’s 10-member executive committee.
“Lois was a Christian leader in her own right, and her service on the executive committee of the National Religious Broadcasters demonstrated that to me over and over,” Rich Bott, former chair of the NRB board and CEO of the Bott Network, on which Tony Evans’ program airs, said in an interview.
Others commented on Lois Evans’ faith as they tweeted remembrances at the news of her death.
“Lois’s legacy of fervent love for the Lord & for her family will live on in her children & grandchildren, the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and the body of Christ as a whole,” said Jim Cymbala, pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York.
“This gracious lady will be remembered by millions of friends and admirers for her kind spirit, her warm smile, and for her enormous contribution to the Cause of Christ,” tweeted James Dobson, founder of “Focus on the Family” and founder of the James Dobson Family Institute.
Lois Evans was most recently senior vice president of The Urban Alternative, the ministry she co-founded with her husband of almost 50 years.
At the November event, author and actress Priscilla Shirer, one of the couple's four children, recalled her mother’s behind-the-scenes work in the ministry’s early days, when requests were coming in for cassette tapes of her father’s sermons that had been heard on the radio. She recalled the routine that included the running off of cassettes on a large machine in a back bedroom of their home.
“We would package them in little plastic wrappers and then we would put them in envelopes,” Shirer said. “We would print the labels. We would help mom get everything packed.”
But she and her three siblings were too young to help with the heavy bag that her mother put in the car for their quick trip to the nearby post office.
In addition to Lois Evans’ various ministry roles with her husband, Evans worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Grand Old Gospel Fellowship Ministry and Dallas Federal Savings and Loan, according to a biography on her website.
While known for her work with her husband and other religious broadcasters, Lois Evans also authored or co-authored several books and developed the Pastors’ Wives Ministry, which she promoted on her website, loisevans.org. It includes blog posts, a counselor directory and a recipe corner.
“Mrs. Evans was very passionate about offering resources and equipping and encouraging pastors’ wives because when she was a young pastor’s wife, there weren’t a lot of resources for her on just how to navigate being the wife of the pastor and all that involved,” said Rhonda Bellamy, executive coordinator of the Urban Alternative who previously worked as Lois Evans’ executive assistant for six years.
“So she was looking for something and so she created the thing she was looking for.”
Since her death, on the website where Evans had promoted her ministry, there was a request that supporters remember other women who are married to clergy.
“In honor of Lois, the Evans family would love for you to send flowers this week to your Pastor’s wife,” it read. “Lois loved receiving flowers but she also loved giving them. Because her passion was ministering to pastors’ wives and making sure they felt loved and cared for, your gift of flowers in her memory would be a gift to her family as well.”