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Obituaries » Monica A. Evans

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December 5, 1934 - January 15, 2024

A Memorial celebration to honor Monica’s life will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024 beginning at 11:30 at the Glen Vista Gallery, in the Kalamazoo Nature Center, located at 7000 N. Westnedge In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Monica’s name to the Research Endowment fund at the Kalamazoo Nature Center; the Monica Ann Evans Wildlife Endowment Fund at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation; the Raymond J. Adams, Jr’s Avian Research Endowment Fund at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the Michigan Audubon Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, or a wildlife organization of your choice, c/o the funeral home.   “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright  

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Monica Ann Evans (89), of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed away at Ascension Living Borgess Place on January 15, 2024, after a long illness. She was cremated and a service will be scheduled for a later date.

She was preceded in death by parents James S. Evans, Anna M. Kozak Evans, and her infant sister Barbara M. Evans. Surviving are James G. Evans (Penny); Joyce E. Bivans (Earl – deceased); Bruce S. Evans (Patricia); Richard A. Evans; much loved nephews and nieces Brendon Evans; Colette Evans; Sheila M. Hamilton (Richard); Laura A. Bivans Tolbirt; Michael J. Bivans (Michelle); Katharine E. Bivans-Ploeger (Donald);  Paul F. Evans (Deborah); Patricia M. Evans; James J. Evans (Maureen): Christopher R. Evans, as well as 12 great nieces and nephews, and 4 great grandnieces and nephew.

Monica was born December 5, 1934, in Boston, Massachusetts, where she lived until graduating from South Boston High School in 1952. During her teenage years in Boston, she received the Teen Queen of Boston award in 1948 and accumulated numerous badges as a Senior Girl Scout. Monica graduated in 1956 with a bachelor’s in biological sciences from Kalamazoo College, after having spent the summer of 1955 at the University of Michigan’s Biological Station in Pellston, Michigan, where she studied under Dr. Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. and Dr. Warren Wagner. She later earned a Master of Science in 1958 from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Monica returned to Kalamazoo after her studies and worked in membership operations for the Michigan Audubon Society. Then in 1960, she began a career at the Kalamazoo Nature Center (KNC) that would span 39 years. She began as administrative assistant, was later promoted to executive assistant, and held the positions of secretary and treasurer during this time. Monica served for 10 years as board secretary for the Michigan Audubon Society (MAS). She was a lifetime member of the MAS as well as KNC and the Wilson Ornithological Society.

For her decades of service, KNC named the Monica A. Evans Arboretum in her honor.

Monica had deep empathy and kindness for people and was an avid animal lover. An adept record-keeper and archivist, she documented the feathered visitors to her birdfeeder and entered this data into KNC’s database as a volunteer.

Upon retirement Monica pursued her passion for world travel, as attested by numerous passport books filled with stamps from circumnavigating the globe. She received multiple travel awards from various institutions including: Certificate of Achievement for having Traveled to All the Continents on the face of the Earth; The Phileas Fogg Award in recognition of traveling to the same nations as the character in the Jules Verne novel “Around the World in Eighty Days”; from International Travel News “Trod the Twenty-Four Outstanding Feat” having traveled to destinations in each of the world’s 24 time zones;  The Shellback Plus Award from International Travel News for “Celebrating three world geographic marks: Crossing the Equator; Crossing the International Date Line and Crossing the Zero Meridian by either land, sea, or air.”

Monica visited nearly all the world’s countries, and every country in North and South America.  For this accomplishment, she received the Cambridge Who’s Who Environmental Conservation Professional of The Year award in 2010.

Monica will be missed by many that shared her love of family, cats, friends, nature, travel and art.