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Rush Kirk Evans, Jr.

Obituary for Rush Kirk Evans, Jr.

September 7, 1931 - March 3, 2019
Austin, Texas | Age 87

Obituary

Rush Kirk Evans, Jr., a longtime resident of Austin, Texas, passed away in Bryan, Texas, on March 3, 2019, at the age of 87.

He was friendly and charismatic, and he enthusiastically embraced life with humor and positivity. Best known as a television broadcasting pioneer, he entered the business when television was largely experimental and he was a trailblazer. He cherished his family, and they admired and adored him. They are proud of his distinguished career, and particularly appreciate his contributions to the city of Austin during a pivotal time in the city's growth.

Born September 7, 1931, in Baxter Springs, Kansas, Rush grew up in Neodesha, Kansas as the only child of Rush and Louise (Burton) Evans. He worked alongside his parents at the local grocery store and in school was popular and excelled at every sport. He also enjoyed playing the trumpet in the band. The family moved to Pittsburg, Kansas, where Rush fell in love with broadcasting. He began working at KSEK Radio as a deejay and basketball announcer, and attended college at what is now Pittsburg State University. He then moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to attend Creighton University, where he played freshman basketball. He later transferred to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech in 1955 and worked as the radio play-by-play announcer for the football and basketball teams.

Rush took his first television job in Abilene, Texas, where his duties included announcing on a weekly country music program, The Slim Willet Show. In Abilene, he fulfilled a childhood dream and learned to fly, especially enjoying piloting small planes to Kansas and back. He then landed a job in Topeka, Kansas as program director at WIBW-TV, where he immediately fell in love with the station's beautiful new receptionist from Ashburn, Georgia, Helen Porter. They soon married and had two children, Tina and Rush III, while in Topeka.

Rush then served as general manager of television stations KKTV in Colorado Springs, Colorado (1964-68); KCEN-TV in Waco, Texas (1968-73); KTBC-TV in Austin, Texas (1973-82); and then KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California; KMIZ-TV in Columbia, Missouri; and KJAC-TV in Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas before retiring in 1991. Several of the stations he worked for were owned by Stauffer Communications.

Rush's 30-year career in television was exciting, and he had a ball. His many roles over the years included producer, news reporter, news anchor, weatherman, advertising salesman, manager, and announcer with a golden voice. In Topeka, he hosted The Rush Hour, a live interview show. He even flew with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, video camera in tow, to get a segment for the show.

Professionally, Rush served as president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters (1976), and for many years enjoyed their Pioneer Club and Golden Mic Club. He served on the CBS Affiliates board of directors and was a charter board member of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE).

Active in community service, Rush was a Shriner and an active member of his Masonic Lodge, particularly in Kansas and Colorado. He served on many boards of directors, including service on the Baylor University Council for Institutional Development and as president of Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries in Waco. In Austin, he served as president of The Austin Chamber of Commerce (1977) and The Headliners Club (1979). He was an Austin Aqua Festival Admiral and he served on the Communication Foundation Advisory Council of the School of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Rush and his family were loyal members of Austin Avenue United Methodist Church in Waco and First United Methodist Church in Austin.

Rush was a major sports fan, and took his family to countless football and basketball games. Golf was a lifelong passion, and he loved spending time with his buddies out on the course, where many jokes were told. He was thrilled to land two holes in-one in his lifetime. From the inaugural event and for the next ten years, Rush served as tee-off announcer at the Legends of Golf Tournament, then held at Onion Creek Country Club in Austin, where he was a longtime member. He managed the tournament in 1987 and then served as membership director at the club. Also in retirement, he worked as an in-demand announcer for commercials and industrial videos, and he served as a volunteer at Seton Hospital.

Rush's greatest passion was his family, and he was a great mentor and encourager. Rush and Helen, his beloved wife of 56 years, loved nothing more than doting on grandson Rush IV, of whom they were very proud. Helen passed away in 2015 at 78. Rush missed her so very much and had been looking forward to joining her again.

Rush is survived by his daughter, Tina Evans and her partner, John Glaze, of College Station, Texas; his son, Rush Evans III and his wife, Ray Anne Evans; their children, Rush Evans IV and Chris Calfee; and their grandchildren, Leila and Ford Calfee, all of Austin. He also is survived by Helen's nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, March 10, at 10:00 a.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home Chapel, 3125 North Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX, with a brief reception following.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to a favorite charity.

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  • In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to a favorite charity.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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