John V. Evans

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John Evans
27th Governor of Idaho
In office
January 23, 1977 – January 4, 1987
Lieutenant William Murphy
Phil Batt
David Leroy
Preceded by Cecil Andrus
Succeeded by Cecil Andrus
33rd Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 23, 1977
Governor Cecil Andrus
Preceded by Jack Murphy
Succeeded by William Murphy
Member of the Idaho Senate
In office
Personal details
Born John Victor Evans
(1925-01-18)January 18, 1925
Malad City, Idaho, U.S.
Died July 8, 2014(2014-07-08) (aged 89)
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
Resting place Malad City Cemetery
Malad City, Idaho
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lola Daniels Evans
(m. 1945–2014, his death)
Children 3 sons, 2 daughters
Parents David Lloyd Evans, Jr.
Margaret Thomas Evans
Alma mater Stanford University,
B.A. 1951 (economics)
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Unit Infantry
Battles/wars World War II

John Victor Evans, Sr. (January 18, 1925 – July 8, 2014) was an American politician from Idaho. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the state's 27th governor and was in office for nearly ten years, from 1977 to 1987.[1][2]


Born in Malad, Idaho,[3] Evans was an infantryman in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following the war, he attended Stanford University and graduated in 1951.[4] He and his wife, Lola Daniels Evans (1927–2015), were married for over 69 years and had five children: three sons and two daughters.[2][5]


Evans returned to Malad after college to help run the family wheat and cattle ranch.[5] He was elected to the state senate at age 27 in 1952 and re-elected in 1954 and 1956, serving as majority leader in his final term. In 1960, Evans became mayor of Malad City and served in that capacity until 1966. He returned to the state senate in 1968 and served as minority leader from 1969–74.[2]

Evans was elected the 33rd lieutenant governor of Idaho in 1974.[1] He became governor in January 1977 when Cecil Andrus accepted an appointment to become the Secretary of the Interior in the new Carter administration.

Evans finished Andrus' term and was elected governor in his own right in 1978, defeating Republican house speaker Allan Larsen of Blackfoot. Evans was the first (and only) Mormon[3] to win election as governor in Idaho and joined Arnold Williams as the second Mormon to ever serve as Governor.[6] He was re-elected in 1982, defeating Republican lieutenant governor Phil Batt of Wilder. This election was so close that at least one Idaho television network incorrectly declared Batt the winner on election night.[7][8]

While in office as governor in 1981, Evans' 29-year-old son John was the target of a foiled kidnapping attempt in Burley.[9][10]

Idaho Gubernatorial Elections: Results 1978–1982
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1978 John Evans (inc.) 165,540 58.7% Allan Larsen 114,149 39.6% Others 4,877 1.7%
1982 John Evans (inc.) 187,640 52.9% Phil Batt 166,911 47.1%

After nearly a decade as a governor, Evans ran for the U.S. Senate in 1986,[11] but was defeated by Republican incumbent Steve Symms of Caldwell.[1] He was succeeded as governor by Andrus, who served two more terms, giving the Democrats six consecutive elections for governor in the state, from 1970 through 1990.

U.S. Senate elections in Idaho (Class III): Results 1986
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1986 John Evans 185,066 48.4% Steve Symms (inc.) 196,958 51.6%


Later life

Evans became president of the family-owned D. L. Evans Bank in Burley in January 1987,[13][14] which was founded in 1904 in Albion by his grandfather, David Lloyd Evans, Sr. (1854–1929).[15] Evans died at age 89 in 2014 at his Boise home on July 8.[2][16] Less than year later, his widow Lola died at home in Boise on May 19, 2015, at the age of 88.[17] They are interred at the Malad City Cemetery in Malad City.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John V. Evans
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "John V. Evans (1925 - 2014)". Idaho Statesman. Boise. obituary. July 10, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 National Governors Association-John V. Evans
  4. "Idaho Governor John Victor Evans". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 25, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hall, Bill (January 26, 1977). "John Evans: Hints of things to come". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Mormons win Idaho governor primary". Bend Bulletin. Associated Press. August 9, 1978. p. 20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Kennedy, John (November 4, 1982). "Gov. Evans rejoices, Batt talks about quitting politics". Associated Press. p. 1C.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Phil Batt has seen close races before". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. December 18, 2000. p. 7A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "3 try to kidnap Idaho governor's son". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. May 16, 1981. p. 9C.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Karen Evans is a heroine to Idaho governor's family". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. May 16, 1981. p. 5B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Kenyon, Quane (October 28, 1986). "No political truce in Idaho". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press. p. A4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Office of the Clerk: Election statistics". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved March 12, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Evans to take over family bank branch". (Moscow) Idahonian. Associated Press. December 2, 1986. p. 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Our History". DL Evans Bank. Retrieved September 25, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Kenyon, Quane (October 11, 1987). "John Evans settling in as banker". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. p. B1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Former Idaho Gov. John V. Evans has died at 89". Idaho State Journal. Pocatello. July 8, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Wife of late Gov. Evans passes away in Boise". Idaho State Journal. 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2015-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Murphy
Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
Succeeded by
William Murphy
Preceded by
Cecil Andrus
Governor of Idaho
Succeeded by
Cecil Andrus
Party political offices
Preceded by
Cecil Andrus
Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho
1978, 1982
Succeeded by
Cecil Andrus
Preceded by
Frank Church
Democratic nominee for Senator from Idaho
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Richard Stallings