Friday, January 13, 2006

Roger Evans, of Expedition Inspiration, dies

Express Staff Writer

Roger Evans. Expedition Inspiration photo

Wood River Valley resident Roger Evans, a well-known supporter of the Expedition Inspiration breast cancer research group, died Wednesday, Jan. 11. He was 62.

Evans was born Jan 8, 1944, in Arcadia, Calif. He was diagnosed in 2004 with colon cancer, which eventually metastasized to his liver, lungs and bones.

Evans worked for many years in commercial real estate in Ketchum, for the real estate group Colliers International. He was married for 31 years to the late Laura Evans, who founded the nationally known Expedition Inspiration for Breast Cancer Research.

Laura and Roger Evans met at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and were married in 1971. The couple led an adventurous life that included living, at various times, in Switzerland, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, San Francisco and Sun Valley.

In 1989, Laura was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and underwent a bone marrow transplant resulting in an inspiring recovery from the disease. As a response to her survival, she founded Expedition Inspiration in 1995. That year, co-led with Peter Whittaker of Rainier Mountaineering, Laura and 17 other breast cancer survivors successfully climbed Argentina's Mount Aconcagua, which at 22,841 feet is the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. The team was featured in a PBS documentary film demonstrating the strength of breast cancer survivors while raising $2 million for medical research. Roger accompanied his wife on the climb as part of the support team.

In March 1996, Laura hosted the Expedition Inspiration Breast Cancer Symposium in Sun Valley, now a yearly event highly regarded by researchers, scientists and oncologists. Roger has served on the board of EI since Laura died in 2000 from a brain tumor unrelated to her previous bout with breast cancer.

In 2005 Evans married Heather Langley, of Ketchum.

"He was such a huge supporter of EI even before Laura's death. We're just going to miss him so much," the director of special events for EI, Katie Powell, said Thursday. "It's a hard enough job when so many of the people we deal with are cancer survivors. And to have lost our founder and then Roger within five years ... it spurs us on to raise more money for research. It is just heartbreaking."

Evans' former colleague at Colliers, Heidi Mickleson, of Sun Valley is the current chairwoman of Expedition Inspiration's board.

"The entire board is incredibly saddened and we will miss him tremendously," she said. "He has been a very valuable member of the board and true friend to all of us. It's a huge loss for the community. He was a powerful link to Laura."

She added that a special EI Sun Valley Full Moon Celebration on Sunday, Feb 12, at Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge in Sun Valley, will be dedicated to the memory of Roger.

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