Obituary for J. Morris Evans
J. Morris Evans, age 96, of Gwynedd, PA passed away on December 16, 2017. Beloved husband of the late Anne (née Tall) Evans. Loving father of Joseph M., Jr. (Carolyn), Walter C. (Jane), Wendy Evans (late Mark) Kravitz, Laura Evans (Stephen) Durant, and Peter A. (Ellen); also survived by 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Morrie was born in 1921 and lived at the Awbury Arboretum, a multi-family compound in Germantown, Philadelphia. He graduated from Germantown Friends School (1939) and from Haverford College (1943), where he was a dedicated student and athlete, competing in soccer, basketball, and track. He was a soccer All-American in 1940 and won four varsity letters in track, three in soccer and one in basketball. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics.
Morrie married Anne Tall, a high school classmate from Germantown Friends School, in 1944. They raised five children and were an inseparable couple for 68 years until her death in 2012. The Evanses began their lives together in New Jersey and Connecticut while Morrie served his country as a conscientious objector, assigned to perform manual labor on farms.
Following the war, he was hired by the Philadelphia Quartz Company, where he began his career as an accounting clerk for $175 a month. The business had been started by his great-great grandfather Joseph P. Elkinton to make soap and candles. Subsequently, the Quartz Company transitioned into the manufacture of soluble silicates and eventually became the PQ Corporation. He rose through the ranks of PQ, becoming vice president and treasurer, developing new markets in Mexico, Europe, Pakistan and South America, and gaining a seat on the board. In 1973, he was named chief executive officer and chairman, serving until his retirement in 1986.
Evans was a birthright member of Germantown Friends Meeting and spent many of his adult years serving the meeting and the Germantown Friends School Committee. He was involved in the governance of Haverford College, serving on the Haverford Corporation and the Board of Managers for many years. He was also engaged with various community groups, serving on the boards of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, Foulkeways at Gwynedd (the first continuing-care retirement community started by Quakers), and as a founding member of Friends Life Care, a nonprofit that helps the elderly age in place at home.
Together, Morrie and Anne established the SNAVE Foundation, a charitable trust that has funded numerous educational, cultural, and social-service organizations. The foundation continues its mission under the leadership of their children and grandchildren.
Morrie was a lifelong sailor, piloting Herreshoff catboats in his boyhood in Haversham, RI, and Mount Desert Island, ME. He enjoyed midlife adventures on Barnegat Bay, NJ, in a Sailfish, a Hobie Cat and two modern gaff-rig craft. His love of sailing influenced his collection of art and amplified his interest in the packet ships, mercantile business, and civic engagements of an ancestor, Thomas Pim Cope.
Morrie was also an avid golfer as a member of the Philadelphia Cricket Club. He served as a president of the Divotees, which was established in 1921 as one of several Quaker-based golf societies in the Delaware Valley.
In lieu of flowers, his family would appreciate contributions in Mr. Evans’ name to Germantown Friends School, Advancement Office, 31 W. Coulter Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144.
A memorial service will be scheduled at the convenience of the family.