March 5, 2021

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

Ruth Irene (Coats) Evans

Ruth Irene (Coats) Evans, 92, passed away on December 31, 2020 in West Lafayette, Indiana. She is survived by her husband Samuel Evans; daughters Rebecca (Eric) Gottschalk and Sarah (Dan) Connolly; grandchildren Meghan Gottschalk, Benjamin, Samuel, and Nathaniel Connolly; and siblings Mary Jane (Coats) Nichols and John Coats. She was preceded in death by siblings Lowell Coats and Lillis (Coats) Hunter.

Born May 6, 1928 in Riverside, Indiana, Ruth was the fourth child of Ezra and Nellie Coats. When Ruth was 2, her family moved to the town of Templeton. She graduated from Otterbein High School in 1946 and Ball State Teachers College in 1949. In 1952, she traveled via cargo ship to Liberia, West Africa to visit her sister Lillis. She documented her adventures in detail with pictures, diary entries, and letters. 

In 1954, she spent a year teaching at Pepperell Air Force Base near St. John’s, Newfoundland, followed by a year at the US air base school in Bordeaux, France. She returned to the US and taught third grade in West Lafayette, while completing her master’s degree from Indiana University. There, she met Sam Evans, a PhD student at Purdue University. They were married on December 30, 1960.

In 1963, they moved to Morris, Minnesota, where Ruth worked as a student teacher evaluator and part time librarian. She was a wonderful mother and pillar of the community, always heading up creative projects and lending a hand wherever she was needed. 

After Sam retired in 1995, he and Ruth moved back to Indiana and purchased a house in Crawfordsville. Ruth was a dedicated member of the First United Methodist Church and volunteered extensively in the community. 

Ruth was an incredible grandmother and loved to tell stories and play games with her four grandchildren. Her unbounded enthusiasm, curiosity, and positive attitude gave her a remarkable life. She was one of a kind and will be missed dearly. 

Ruth passed away the day after she and Sam celebrated their 60th anniversary. She was buried on January 12, 2021 at Oak Hill Cemetery in Crawfordsville. A memorial service to celebrate Ruth will be held later this year at the First United Methodist Church. Friends and family are encouraged to post memories in Ruth’s guestbook on the Hunt & Son Funeral Home’s website ( 

Memorial donations may be made to the Crawfordsville District Public Library or the First United Methodist Church of Crawfordsville.