William Evans

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William M. Evans, 75, of Belleville, IL, born June 23, 1945, in Gibson City, IL, died peacefully on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, holding the hand of his beloved wife of 54 years.

A 1963 graduate of Rantoul Township High School, he went on to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he earned a Bachelors’ Degree in Art in 1967 and a Master’s Degree in Education in 1968.

Bill taught at Belleville Township High School West for 34 years, retiring in 2002.  While the majority of his tenure was in the art department, he also taught special education for 11 years.  Upon retirement from BTHS West, he began a second teaching career at Southwest Illinois College in the art department, specializing in life drawing.

Bill left a legacy of art throughout the city of Belleville, from the students he so skillfully guided to the mural he designed and painted on North Illinois St. with his great artist friends.  He created plein aire paintings of historic buildings each year that were auctioned off to raise money for the Belleville Historic Society.  He also designed the official logo of the Belleville Stags Vintage Base Ball Club.

One of Bill’s greatest loves was his participation in the High School Art Show for Art on the Square.  As one of the founding organizers, he worked tirelessly to help coordinate the showing of the works of area high school artists, making it a highlight of Art on the Square.  In 2017 he was named Art on the Square co-volunteer of the year.  His talent as both an artist and an instructor has been shared with his family, inspiring his niece and two granddaughters to follow in his footsteps.

Bill was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.  He was a quiet man with a wonderfully dry sense of humor who was adored by all.  He was also a patient man who led by example for his family and students.

Twice in his life, Bill went into remission for lymphoma.  But after over five years of battling, it was ultimately myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in his bone marrow that took his life.  Bill continued to participate in numerous studies throughout his illness to further the efforts to find a cure for lymphoma.

Bill was preceded in death by his father, Forrest H. Evans; his mother, Eula D. Evans (nee Emerson); a brother, Gary L. Evans; and a grandson, Henry A. Roth-Evans.

He is survived by his loving wife, Cynthia Evans (nee Becherer), whom he married on December 26, 1966; a daughter, Melissa Evans of Normal, Illinois; a son, William B. (Ashley) Evans of Glen Carbon, Illinois; five grandchildren, Alanna Santiago, Nick Santiago, Serena Santiago, Maresa Santiago, and Jackson Roth-Evans; a brother, Duane (Suzanne) Evans of Seneca, South Carolina; two sisters, Carolyn (Larry) Morgan of Santa Ana, California and Alicia (Steve) Stanula of Milford, Ohio; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Bill’s memory to the Siteman Cancer Center https://siteman.wustl.edu/give/siteman-advancement-office/ or to the Bill Evans Memorial Art on the Square High School Award Fund https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=C2VU8E3HWZQNS.  Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.

Funeral:  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private visitation and service for family members will be held Saturday, February 13, 2021, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.

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41 Comments on William Evans

Jim Wiesen said : Guest Report Feb 19, 2021 at 7:05 PM

My Thoughts and Prayers.....

  • Belleville
  • Il
Barbara said : Guest Report Feb 18, 2021 at 5:54 PM

His love of family was reflected in his art work of his grandchildren! Always ready with his singular sense of humor! Cindy is a hero, by his side through many trials! Sad that we never had the opportunity to know this man, this couple better. The entire family is in our prayers for God’s healing touch!

  • Tampa
  • Florida
Anna Friesen said : Guest Report Feb 15, 2021 at 1:43 PM

Bill’s quirky sense of humor and artistic skills are indelibly etched in my mind, and bring a smile to my face. Humor and art: two legacies that are ‘not too shabby’.

  • santa rosa
  • CA
Debra sucic (cantrell) said : Guest Report Feb 15, 2021 at 1:31 PM

He was an awesome teacher, I had him for art and science when I went to west high school! He will be missed.

  • Collinsville
  • Il
Janet and George Shea said : Guest Report Feb 15, 2021 at 1:14 PM

May dear Bill rest in peace. May you, Cindy, and your dear family live in peace. May you feel the comfort of your friends’ prayers and love.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Diane & Rob Shanahan said : Guest Report Feb 15, 2021 at 12:59 PM

Dear Cindy, Melissa, and Bill We were so sad to hear of Bill's passing and hope the love of friends and family will help you through this difficult time. We will miss him. Love Diane and Rob

  • Carlsbad
  • CA
Gary and Karen Grundl said : Guest Report Feb 15, 2021 at 8:52 AM

We are so sorry to hear of Bills passing he really fought the cancer to the bitter end. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Cindy and your family.

  • Muskego
  • Wisconsin
Cheryl Childress said : Guest Report Feb 14, 2021 at 12:44 PM

To Cindy & Family: I am so sad to hear that Bill has left us! As one of my earliest art teachers, he has made such an impact on my life as a teacher and an artist. He had a really great way of turning around bad moods in the classroom with his dry humor. This is something I always admired in him, as I too became an art teacher and had to face challenging attitudes in the classroom. This is not always an easy thing to do! And he did this well! He had a way of smiling with his eyes that could flip things around, even when people were yelling. And to me, this is one of the true challenges of being a teacher (and probably also of being a human being). Two of my greatest loves of art—to this day—started in his classroom: Primitive Camera Photography and Collage. In my first highschool art class, he set up a darkroom made of black trash bags as walls and we made replicas of an early 1900s Kodak box-pinhole camera. I was always amazed at this little makeshift darkroom!—and that cameras could be built out of practically nothing. This started a long-term love of old school photography for me that goes on to this day. I shared the story of this darkroom with all my students who loved darkroom photography but were discouraged that they couldn’t afford to do it at home and they would get so excited! And inspired! There were boxes and boxes of old magazines in the back of the classroom that people had donated to the school and I am not sure when we first used them to collage with, but I know I covered my box camera with collage, and our newly formed Art Club collaborated to release a CD w music from those who were in bands at BWHS that had collaged liner note art. I would stay up late all the time collaging at home because I had so much fun doing it. We spent weekends hanging out at kinkos learning how to rescale collages on a photocopy machine to make this zine-of-sorts. All of this I also incorporated in my own 2-D design class to show students how they can make posters without computers and it was their favorite assignment, hands down. And lastly, the first time I ever traveled overseas was because Bill invited me along with the SWIC kids to Rome over Christmas break from college. If it weren’t for him I may have never been able to see the Sistine Chapel which was one of the most wonderfully amazing, without words, experiences of my life despite only being aloud to stay in there for 15 minutes. I will always remember having my first overseas hot chocolate with him and Courtney outside the Pantheon. Such a simple thing, but it was just such a joyful moment for me, being in Rome for the first time. Great teachers change lives, not only those who they teach, but those who their students interact with—despite how hard the job can be. I am so grateful to have had Bill as one of my foundational art teachers. I will miss him—May the Love of Christ bring you and your family peace in heart and may Bill also rest in peace with God.

  • St.Louis
  • Mo
Laurie Eisenhauer said : Guest Report Feb 14, 2021 at 11:08 AM

I couldn’t agree more with all the sentiments that have already been written about the kind soul of this gentleman. I am a former art student of his and was in contact with him at times via Facebook. It was comforting to know he was out there enjoying life with his wry sense of humor. I still remember the unique way he signed my senior yearbook. He had helped me complete one of my final drawings of an owl protecting its nest—which I gifted to him. He scribbled a quick line drawing self-portrait and then wrote “To a girlie who draws good owls and other sundry stuff”. I already miss him.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Jackie & Joe Lehn said : Guest Report Feb 14, 2021 at 9:24 AM

Our Hearts are Broken. We will Truly Miss Bill. He was always so Kind & Gracious. Rest In Peace Bill

  • Greenfield
  • Wisconsin
Corky Smith said : Guest Report Feb 13, 2021 at 11:38 AM

Cindy & family. His long hard battle is over. I have fond memories of the family humors while hanging out with Doug. Love. Corky

  • Belleville
  • IL
Marianne Sherman said : Guest Report Feb 13, 2021 at 10:32 AM

Dear Cindy, Melissa and Billy, sending you our love and prayers at this difficult time! We so enjoyed getting to know Bill over the years and especially enjoyed the Mardi Gras visit to Biloxi! May all your wonderful memories help you through this. With love, John and Marianne

  • Biloxi
  • Mississippi
Jackie Lillis (Morrison) said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 11:24 PM

Mr. Evans had a a profound impact on my life. In his art classes I felt more like myself than anywhere else. He told me he saw me as an art teacher and so I became one. It's hard to sum up how much he meant to me and how his humor, acceptance, encouragement and demeanor made his classroom a safe place for his students. I will hold him in my heart forever and my prayers are with his beautiful wife, his family and everyone who was blessed to know him.

  • Loveland
  • Colorado
Rosalie Veile said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 9:19 PM

Dear Cindy and family, Our deepest sympathies to your loss. Bill was a wonderful educator, friend and talented artist. I had the pleasure of having him as an instructor at SWIC, for Life Drawing. I really enjoyed the class. I will miss his humor and kind smile. Sincerely, Rosalie Veile

  • Ofallon
  • Il
Florence & Frances Brennan said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 4:01 PM

Dear Cindy; we are so sorry that Bill has passed away. You have our prayers and thoughts. You know that Bill is in Heaven drawing and painting for the Lord. Hang in there.

  • Gulf Shores
  • Alabama
Alison Baltz said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 1:37 PM

Mr Evans was the best art teacher a high schooler could have had. I was very lucky to have had him for a teacher, oh so many years ago!

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Pat & Ivo Spalatin said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 11:41 AM

Sending love and prayers to you and all the family on the occasion of Bill's passing. You took such good care of him and enjoyed many fun years together. XOXO

  • Chevy Chase MD
  • Maryland
Kenny and Susan Evans said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 10:50 AM

We are so sorry to learn of Bill’s passing. Our deepest sympathy to your family.

  • Mattoon
  • Illinois
Tim & Peggy Buchanan said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 10:01 AM

Condolences on Bill's passing. Whenever I would see him at Belleville West, he always had a funny joke that made me smile. Peggy and I so enjoyed Bill's company on the two cruises with you guys. Praying for the family's comfort.

  • Swansea
  • IL
Sean Mullins said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 9:43 AM

Sean and Carrie Heyen here. We are friend’s of his son, Bill. We never met his father or got to know him directly. But if he was responsible for his son’s compassion, kindness and generosity, then I'm certain he will be missed by many. I see Bill pass these important values and principles to his own son Jackson. His legacy will continue for many generations. Also, I had no idea he was an art instructor, painter and influential volunteer for art on the square. I enjoy visiting the art fair every year with my wife. I get inspiration and motivation for my own work from these visits. And knowing Bill’s father had such a positive impact on it makes it that much sweeter. A life lived for art is never a life wasted.

  • Collinsville
  • IL
Lynn Schwoebel said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 9:34 AM

Dear Cindy and Family, My heart is broken for you over the loss of dear Bill! I was so blessed to be able to work with him at Belleville West! I will always remember his huge smile, and his wonderful sense of humor! My life is better for having known him! And Heaven is a more beautiful place now that he is there! I'm praying that you will feel God's loving arms wrapped around you, holding you close and filling you with His peace in the days and weeks ahead. Love, Lynn

  • Belleville
  • IL
Karen Sieron Peters said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 9:09 AM

Dear Cindy and family, I'm incredibly saddened by the loss of Bill. He was a wonderful friend and co-worker. He always saw the good in everyone. He will be missed. Please take care of yourself. I truly know how rough this sad time is for all of you.

  • St. Louis
  • MO
Patty Meller said : Guest Report Feb 12, 2021 at 8:52 AM

Such a loss for Cindy, friends and family, but for the community at large as well. He will be sorely missed, but his love and kindness to people who were lucky enough to cross paths with him will go on. Cindy, my deepest condolences to you and yours. Words can't describe how sorry I am. Sending love and prayers. Patty

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Laureen Torigian said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 11:25 PM

Cindy, I was so sorry to hear about Bill! I know that he fought the good fight! You were with him all through those difficult times! It is not easy being a caregiver, but you did a great job! Take care of yourself! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! Blessings, Laureen

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Nanette Burke said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 10:47 PM

The passing of Bill Evans mars the loss of a kind soul, a creative genius, and a true hero in his efforts to live his life to the fullest. He made his mark on his world, & will be remembered by all whose life he touched?

  • Biloxi
  • MS
Don and Steph Strohacker said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 8:57 PM

Cindy we were so sad to hear of Bill’s passing. He had such a kind and gentle spirit. Prayers of peace and comfort for you and your family.

  • Schererville
  • IN
Michael and Beth Fink and Family said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 8:09 PM

With deepest sympathy for your family. He was a wonderful community leader. He will be greatly missed throughout the Belleville area. I will miss his friendship and conversations we had.

  • LAS VEGAS
  • Nevada
Nancy Brownlie Marts said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 6:55 PM

Our love for the whole family! So so sorry for the loss of Bill!

  • Phoenix
  • Arizona
Adrienne Evans said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 6:40 PM

My deepest sympathy to all of you. Bill was a wonderful person and so very talented. He couldn’t have been a more caring person.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Tom and Betty ninnis said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 6:40 PM

Cindy and family. We are so saddened by the passing of Bill. He fought such a fight. We pray for Bill and you as well as family God got tired of seeing him suffer and brought him to Heaven to continue his painting. Cindy, take care of yourself. God bless you 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  • Millstadt
  • Illinois
David Carr said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 6:39 PM

Bill changed my life. Several times in fact. And while he was not always aware of it, he was a constant voice in my head. I, Sammie, and Aurora will miss him deeply. And I will always be so proud of the fact that he was not only my teacher, but my friend.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Steve & Nancy Becherer said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 6:20 PM

Cindy, We were sorry to hear that Bill passed away. He was a kind man and always a joy to be around. Our prayers are with you and your family. God Bless, Steve & Nancy Becherer

  • Lake Saint Louis
  • MO
Uliana Buxton said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 6:09 PM

Cindy My deepest condolences to you and your family he was a gem a wonderful man and my pleasure to have known him. Uliana Buxton

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
George and Peggy Gasparich said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 6:08 PM

Cindy, Bill, and Melissa We were so saddened to hear about Bill’s passing.! You know we loved him for the special man that he was! He was quiet but so funny! He touched so many lives in the classroom and in life. Such a talented artist, great teacher, loving father and husband, great friend, and a wonderful man gone way too soon. We loved you Bill and we will never forget you and the wonderful times spent together! We traveled to some special places together: Barcelona, Capri, Branson, Mexico, Florida, and to the Caribbean. So many cherished memories! I have to end this with a Billism. This Billism is what he would tell you when you were leaving. “Bill, I hope you will be wearing radishes the size of diamonds!” George and Peggy

  • OFallon
  • Il
Keith Smith said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 5:36 PM

Cindy, I'm so sorry to hear of Bill's passing. He was a wonderful guy with a razor-sharp wit. I am very grateful that Bruce and I had the opportunity of meeting you in Saint Martin and of sharing some beautiful beach days with you for a few years. Our thoughts will be with you and your family. May you find peace in your memories of Bill.

  • Puerto Morelos
  • Quintana Roo, México
Candice Santos said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 5:15 PM

I’m so sorry for your loss, Cindy. Bill was a wonderful artist, teacher and friend. “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” Prayers for you and your family.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Catherine Roseberry said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 4:24 PM

Cindy, we offer our deepest sympathy for Bill’s passing. He was a delightful person. We are so glad to have spent time with him on the cruise. May God bless you during this difficult time. Karen and Bill

  • Fairview Heights
  • Illinois
Dick & Kathy Gundlach said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 12:36 PM

Dear Cindy and family, We are deeply saddened by losing Bill. He was a fighter! And you, Cindy, the best of caregivers. If we can help now and in the future please let us know. I know you have great support from family and close friends. Accept our sympathy and love Dick and Kathy

  • Swansea
  • IL
Dick & Kathy Gundlach said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 12:36 PM

Dear Cindy and family, We are deeply saddened by losing Bill. He was a fighter! And you, Cindy, the best of caregivers. If we can help now and in the future please let us know. I know you have great support from family and close friends. Accept our sympathy and love Dick and Kathy

  • Swansea
  • IL
Dick & Kathy Gundlach said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 12:36 PM

Dear Cindy and family, We are deeply saddened by losing Bill. He was a fighter! And you, Cindy, the best of caregivers. If we can help now and in the future please let us know. I know you have great support from family and close friends. Accept our sympathy and love Dick and Kathy

  • Swansea
  • IL
Dick & Kathy Gundlach said : Guest Report Feb 11, 2021 at 12:36 PM

Dear Cindy and family, We are deeply saddened by losing Bill. He was a fighter! And you, Cindy, the best of caregivers. If we can help now and in the future please let us know. I know you have great support from family and close friends. Accept our sympathy and love Dick and Kathy

  • Swansea
  • IL

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