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Deanna Genelle Evans
February 1, 1943 ~ November 5, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
Deanna Genelle Evans. Born February 1, 1943 (Bastrop, Texas) died November 5, 2023 (Bronx, New York). Deanna Evans, daughter of Helen Polansky Delmar and Armand Delmar, spent her early years of life in Southern California. She moved to Smithville, Texas for elementary and middle school. At the age of 16, she graduated from Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio in 1959. She then matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in Philadelphia, PA and graduated from Penn in 1963 with an honors degree in English.
She married Neil Kenneth Evans in 1964. Deanna spent her entire life as an English literary scholar. She received a Masters degree from the University of Texas in 1966 and became one of the first women to receive a PhD in English literature from Case Western Reserve University in 1971. She lived in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland Ohio from 1964 until 1983, where she taught English at The Laurel School and at Cleveland State University.
Deanna moved to Bemidji, Minnesota in 1983 where she became a full tenure professor of English at Bemidji State University until she retired in 2008 as Professor Emeritus. As a professor, she led student trips to Europe and China. In 1984, she participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) program at Stanford University which focused on Chaucer. In 1986, she participated in another NEH medieval literature program at SUNY Binghamton. She took two sabbaticals at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. An expert renowned in medieval literature, medieval women’s studies, Scottish literature, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Dunbar, J.R.R. Tolkien, and St. Clare of Assisi, Deanna wrote and contributed to the following book collections: Middle-Earth Minstrel: Essays on Music in Tolkien; Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs and Customs; The European Sun and Women; and The Feminine in Medieval and Early Modern Scottish Writing. She wrote a biography of William Dunbar for the Dictionary of Literary Biography and The Companion to Catholic Literature. Her articles, peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed, were published in the following journals: Studies in Scottish Literature, Neophilologus, Magistra: A Journal of Women’s Spirituality in History, Old English Newsletter, Medieval Feminist Newsletter, Minnesota English Journal and Proceedings of the Medieval Association of the Midwest.
After retiring in 2008, she moved to Kalamazoo, MI. In Kalamazoo, she continued her participation at the Medieval Institute Conferences hosted by Western Michigan University.
In 2016, she relocated to Arlington, Texas where she became an active elder and member of Grace Presbyterian Church. (She intended to continue her scholarship through the University of Texas). She led women’s book studies and acted as the chair of the education committee at Grace Presbyterian.
While her professional life was one of a scholar, her true passion and joys were found with her family - being a daughter to her mother, being a mother to her children whom she raised, and a grandmother to her grandchildren. She took much pride in her children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. She is survived by her three children: Elizabeth Evans Katz, Esq. of White Plains, New York, Margaret Manning, PhD, of Arlington, Texas and Henry K. Evans, Esq. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She delighted in her eight grandchildren ranging in age from 30 to 5: Jeffrey Katz, MD, Susan Katz, David Katz, Maria Evans, Luke Evans, Katharine Pavek, Audrey Anna Manning and Barton Harley (Trey) Manning, III and one great-grandson, Noah Katz.
Visitation will be at the Marrs Jones funeral home in Smithville, Texas on November 18th from 10:00 am - 11:30 am, followed by a burial service at Oak Hill Cemetery. Deanna’s life will also be celebrated at a Memorial Service to be held at Grace Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Texas on December 16th at 11:00 am.