Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Dale Evans, seated, is joined by his son, Roger Evans and granddaughter Amy Evans at Evans Feed in 2017, when Dale was being interviewed as a Madera Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
Dale Stanley Evans, a nearly lifelong resident of Madera died on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020 at the age of 90. Born in Fairfax, Oklahoma, his family moved to California in 1935 when he was 6 years old.
“It was a true Grapes of Wrath story,” said his daughter Carolyn Alberta.
“They were sharecroppers and seven of them,” son Roger Evans said.
A sharecropper is a person who works another person’s land for a percentage of the profits.
“My grandparents came to Madera and made sure they could always feed their children,” he said.
In those days, the schools Dale attended in Madera were segregated with English speaking Italian children attending Howard and the Okie kids going to Cotton Blossom schools, Roger said. Dale attended the old Lincoln School, too.
After a stint in the Marines during the Korean War, Dale and his late wife, the former Melba Sue Glenn returned home to Madera where they lived for the rest of their life. Their mother came to Madera from Alabama. She passed away in 1989.
Working 23 years at TECO (Thompson and Gill) Hardware and Manufacturing in Madera, his talented personality and drive made him a strong asset for the company. He was even offered a top management position. But, unfortunately, that would have required them to move from Madera. Their roots in this community were too deep to make that a viable option.
Many others have written about his talents and generosity as a business owner and philanthropist. But one of his most enduring qualities is just how much he adored his family. Once their children were adults, they opened a feed store on Nov. 20, 1978.
More than four decades later Evans Feed and Livestock Supply is still thriving on South E and 7th streets in downtown Madera. Through the years the family including children, in-laws and siblings have helped run the business.
“My father taught us by example his strong work ethic and the importance of taking care of our family and the community,” said Roger.
Their dad loved visiting with his customers and friends who patronized the store. Talking about the “Good ol’ Day was a favorite topic, Alberta said. He would also lend a hand wherever he could.
His kids have fond memories of growing up in Madera and family camping and hunting trips.
“My dad taught us how to safely load and shoot a .22 rifle,” she said.
While working at TECO, he and Melba enjoyed loading up their kids — Roger, Carolyn and Michael — and heading out, she said.
As a family, they attended school programs and sporting events. The Evans children are second generation Coyotes graduating from Madera High School. Dale graduated from the then Madera Union High School in the class of 1949.
One of Roger’s favorite memories occurred when the shop receipts for the first time totaled $1,000 every day, for a month.
“We sat on the back porch, drank a beer and smoked cigars to celebrate,” he said. “The only time we ever did that.”
Dale will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched through the store, the Madera County Cattlemen’s Association and the Madera Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
He is survived by his long-time companion Laquita Evans, his son Roger and wife Karen Evans of Madera, daughter Carolyn and husband Francis Alberta of Twain Harte and son Michael and wife Nancy Evans of Idaho.
Also surviving are grandchildren, Amy Evans, Jeff Chambers, Morgan Cox, Jody and husband Andy Salt, William Cox, Courtney Alberta-Forte, Dustin Evans and Sydney Evans; two great-grandchildren, Frieda Salt and Henry Salt, sisters Virginia Wilton, Marie Atkinson, brother Charles Evans and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Melba Evans, parents William and Beulah Evans, brother Lloyd Evans and sister Alogene Jester.
Under the direction of Jay Chapel, 1121 Roberts Avenue, Madera, visitation will be held 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday at the chapel. Private family graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday at Arbor Vitae Cemetery.