My Dad’s name is Arthur Lamar Evans, but he always went by Lamar. He was born on June 3, 1942 in Bushnell, Florida and went to be with the Lord on March 22, 2019. He was what people might call a “man’s man”. He had a tough exterior, but inside, he had a tender heart when it came to his family and friends. He was a “florida cracker” (his grandmother bought property in Trilby, Florida in 1905), a “straight shooter” and a “get it done” kind of person, but he also had a good sense of humor and liked to joke and make other people laugh. He was a good man, a good husband, father and grandfather who worked very hard most of his life to help provide for and take care of his family.
He loved farming, raising animals, hunting, fishing and barbecuing. Before he and Mom got married, he used to break horses and ride in the rodeos, but after he met my Mom, he told me he found something (or someone) he loved more than the rodeo and he gave it up because he said it wasn’t the life for a married man. He always called Mom “darlin” and he doted on her.
When I was little, he called me “doll” and he liked for me to sit with him in his recliner at night while we were watching television. If I asked him for something I wanted, he would say, “well what are you going to give me?” and I would say what do you want? He would then say “a hug and a kiss.” Although I might have had other issues, I always knew that my Dad loved me and I believe the Lord used him to show me a reflection of His heart for me. Although we lost the practice of regularly hugging and saying “I love you” over the years, I made sure I re-instituted the practice in the last several months and weeks he was alive.
I also remember him taking my brother, Clay Evans, dove hunting with him when he was only about 2 or 3 years old. When they came home, my brother walked in carrying a baby bottle with dove feathers all over it. Dad said when he got fussy, he just gave him a dead bird to play with, (lol).
We moved to Citrus County (the first time) in 1968, when I was about 5 years old, and my brother was a baby. My Dad managed 4S Farms in Hernando (Citrus County) for about 9 years, where they raised and trained 3 and 5 gait show horses to compete in Horse Shows. He also helped raise and train bird dogs and held trials (contests) where the dogs competed in quail hunting. He also raised chickens, turkeys, quails, chuckers, pheasants, peacocks, cows and pigs.
My Dad always wanted to be a veterinarian, but didn’t have the money to go to school, however, he studied the veterinarian’s manual and did most of what vets do for the animals on the farm. Many of the people around the area who had farm animals would call Dad instead of the vet. I remember a couple of times when they took some of the dogs out hunting wild hogs and a wild boar sliced one of the dog’s necks open with his tusks and Dad sowed the dog’s neck up and it was fine after that.
He was great at growing fruit and vegetables, especially sweet corn and watermelons and every year for many years when the sweet corn was ready, we would have a big barbecue and invite family and friends over. My husband said that was the best sweet corn he ever ate and I think we all agreed. One year he grew 70 acres of watermelons in a pasture next to Hwy 486, in an area now known as Citrus Hills (now a big Housing development).
When my cousins and I were pretty young, Dad and Grandpa Carlton would take us fishing in the swamp (the Clay Sink area in Sumter County). They would have us tie a stringer around our belt loop and place a can of worms with a string tied to each side of the can around our neck and wade out till we were about waist deep to catch what Grandpa Carlton called “stump knockers” (war mouths). He would wait until we got out there about waist deep and then start pointing out where the gator caves were and telling us about all the gators they caught when he and Dad used to go gator hunting. Us kids would get nervous and say “what do we do if a gator comes?” and Grandpa Carlton would say “just stay real still, pretend like you’re a log and they won’t bother you”, (lol). Dad and Grandpa Carlton had a lot of great times together and I’m sure they are hanging out and rejoicing together in heaven right now, along with Granny Evans (his Mom), and the others who have passed on.
Dad loved spending time with his grandsons, Levi and Joby Evans and Nate Rowe and he helped Levi and Nate both pick out and raise several steers. Levi had two steers who won the title of Grand Champion two years in a row, his junior and senior year (the first time in history that had happened in Citrus County). Dad and Nate raised chickens, quails, goats, pigs and steers together. He also taught Nate how to grow a garden and we all helped pick the greens, conk peas, okra, peanuts, etc. and Mom and Dad would can the peanuts. He taught all of us kids and the grand kids how to shoot and taught the boys how to hunt.
At one time Dad had a fruit harvesting and hauling business (in Pasco County), then a combine business (harvesting corn and rice) for U. S. Sugar Coop., (based out of Pasco County) and then a sod, irrigation & landscaping business (in Inverness). Dad and Mom had a take-out barbecue restaurant in Inverness for several years called Evans BBQ and Dad was well known for his barbecuing. Years ago, Dad and the Sheriff at that time, B. R. Quinn, used to barbecue together.
Dad went to the Baptist Church as a child. Although he stopped going for many years, I know from things that he said over the years, that he still believed in God (at least on some level) and when I asked him the last Sunday morning before he passed (March 17th, 2019) if he had asked Jesus to come into his heart, he told me “yes”. I praise and thank the Lord for saving my Dad and taking him to heaven where there is no more pain and suffering and I look forward to seeing him again one day.
My husband told me that after his Dad passed away that he had a dream a few days later that he saw his Dad driving a brand new John Deere tractor and he looked to be about 30-35 years old (he was almost 80 years old when he passed). I imagine that Dad is up there driving his new tractor also, because he loved farming, and I look forward to seeing him do that again one day. My friend Pam said that maybe they’ll have Dad cooking for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. I don’t doubt it. See you again Dad, love you.