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Evan Watson Thomas ’39

A picture of Evan Thomas

Dorothy Michael Thomas and Evan Thomas ’39 in 1954.

Evan Watson Thomas ’39, March 18, 2011, in Madras, Oregon. Evan was born in Portland to Welsh immigrants and attended Grant High School. He earned a BA from Reed in biology and an MD from the University of Oregon. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in India, where he treated between 70 and 100 patients a day while stationed at the Lido Road Staging Area. After the war, he set up a practice in Madras, Oregon, as a family doctor and surgeon. He met Dorothy E. Michael there; they married in 1948 and raised six children—three sons, including David R. Thomas ’81, and three daughters. Evan was Madras' only doctor for much of his early career and often had to drive as far as Prineville and Bend to see his patients. He made house calls throughout Jefferson County, interrupted his personal time to assist in crises, and delivered a great number of babies. Tony Ahern, brother of Daniel J. Ahern ’82, writing for the Madras Pioneer, described Evan's role in his own family, where he served as a lifesaver. “He plays a key role in so many family stories that you can compare him to Jimmy Stewart in the 1950s—very comforting, incredibly busy, and damned good. The magnificence rests in the collection. The impact of one man on so many lives and families within our hometown is staggeringly impressive.” Evan and his family spent his days off skiing at Mount Bachelor or hiking in the mountains. Evan also liked ice-skating, swimming, biking, rafting, wildflowers, books, music, photography, and huckleberry pie. In his later years, he walked daily, using a modified ski pole for a walking stick. Survivors include five children, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. His daughter, Mary Ann, preceded him in death. “Dad always had fond memories of his years at Reed, especially the adventures with the outdoor club on Mount Hood. He formed a lifelong friendship with Marsh Cronyn ’40 [chemistry 1952-89] based on their outdoor adventures,” David told us. Evan's brother and sister-in-law were Lloyd Thomas ’47 and Mary Lou Williams Thomas ’47.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2011

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