US Navy

Donald John Evans

January 29, 1926 ~ April 17, 2020 (age 94)


            Donald John Evans, recently of Westwood, MA and formerly of Cohasset, MA, died at his residence on April 17, 2020.  He was 94. The cause of death was aspiration pneumonia.  He was a partner for many years at the law firm of Goodwin Proctor & Hoar (now Goodwin) in Boston until his retirement in 1996, and then served until 2003 as the General Counsel and First Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. 

            Don was born in Springfield, MA in 1926, and graduated from Cathedral High School in 1943.  He enlisted in the Navy, and thanks to the Navy V-12 officer training program was sent to Dartmouth College, in Hanover NH. At Dartmouth, a member of the Class of 1947, he played varsity football and baseball, and was in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.  Due to wartime acceleration, he graduated in three years, but by then the war had ended so he did not see combat.

            After graduating from Dartmouth, he taught Latin and Math and coached sports at the Millbrook School, in Millbrook, NY.  After Millbrook, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1952.  He then began a 44-year career at Goodwin, where he became a corporate partner and remained until mandatory retirement at age 70 in 1996.  Wanting to remain professionally engaged, he then had a second career as the full time General Counsel and First Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue until he retired again in 2003.

            Don’s wife of 58 years, Sheila Sweeney Evans, died in 2012, and he missed her dearly.  Since then, his most enjoyable times were with his children, his grandchildren, and his sister.  Over his long life, he had many passions and interests.  He was an athlete, and in addition to playing tennis and later golf, he rode a bicycle and jogged before exercise was mainstream, and well after.  He loved singing, and for several years was an enthusiastic member of the Apollo Club, a men’s chorus in Boston founded in 1871; more recently he sang with a choir at Fox Hill Village.  He was a wonderful dancer and loved dancing with his wife and daughters.  Don and Sheila learned to sail on the Charles River at the Community Boating public sailing center, and then continued sailing after they moved to Cohasset in the late 1950’s. Sailing became a treasured time to share with family and friends, particularly on their Tartan 34 sailboat.

            He contributed to, and participated in, many philanthropic, civic and club activities.  He was Chair of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, President of Union Club in Boston, Commodore of Cohasset Yacht Club, a trustee or director of several non-profits including The Boston Ballet and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts High Technology Council, a member of Old Goats in Cohasset, and a consistent volunteer at Father Bill’s Place, a homeless shelter in Quincy, MA.  He was also a director for many years of UniFirst Corporation.

            He is survived by his sister, Susan C. Breda of Nashua, NH, his children Daniel S. Evans and Elizabeth E. Bodner of Cohasset, MA, and Martha E. Morris of Ridgefield, CT, nine grandchildren and a great granddaughter.  A memorial mass will be held at a future date at St. Anthony’s in Cohasset.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Father Bill’s Place in Quincy, MA.


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