OBIT: Hank Evers, whose life continues to inspire

By Mark McElrath

In November of 2020, Santiago Retreat Center Vice President of Philanthropy and our Brother in Christ Hank Evers was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer.  During this past year, we walked with Hank on his heroic Camino of suffering, made particularly difficult by the Covid restrictions on healthcare facilities. Doctor visits, hospital stays, chemo infusions, all done without OBIT: Hank Evers, whose life continues to inspirethe benefit of a loved one’s company, help, loving hand – but Hank put this pain, suffering, fear, and loneliness to good use because he prayerfully and sacrificially united his suffering with that of Jesus for the benefit of ongoing conversion. I tell you, I could feel those prayers he offered for me and the retreat center’s work, whose mission he worked so hard to advance.

Hank passed on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi at 8:42 pm.  It was a holy and happy death.  That same morning at 11:30 am, the mass was celebrated at his bedside by Fr. Glenn Baaten- his wife Lori, son Jason, and sister Jeanne were with him.  He had previously received the final sacraments of the Church weeks earlier – this mass was a spontaneous celebration that the Holy Spirit arranged.  Later in the afternoon, friends came to pray the rosary at his bedside, again spontaneously and surrounded by his family in the intimacy of his home hospice bedroom. Then, later that night –  just as the Red Mass at a Christ Cathedral was concluding, the Cathedral that Hank dedicated nearly a decade of his life to advancing, Hank, holding his son’s hand with the crucifix pressed in between their palms – Hank breathed his last.  It was a holy death.  It was a heroic Camino with cancer, and it capped a beautiful Catholic life.

Hank leaves his wife Lori, his four children, and seven grandchildren. He was the youngest of 12 siblings and, therefore, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.  He leaves colleagues who are truly friends, and his legacy is one of evangelization.  His was a holy death, a happy death during the Year of St. Joseph.

Funeral Arrangements are as follows:
Sunday, October 10
7:00 p.m. vigil service 
O’Connor Mortuary

Monday, October 11
10:30 Funeral Mass
Christ Cathedral
Reception to follow
2:00 p.m. Graveside Service Holy Sepulcher Cemetery

Christ Cathedral will be the location for the funeral mass.  There Bishop Vann will celebrate the mass, and we will pray for Hank’s soul, we will pray with those who mourn his passing, we will walk with this brother in his holy death, his happy death.  A reception will follow immediately so that family and friends can share their stories, good wishes, and fellowship.  Graveside service will be at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery at 2:00 pm. 

Hank shared reflections on his Camino with cancer via his blog There you will also find a link to his caring bridge account for us to date information and remembrance page, as well as link to the go fund me page to support the immediate needs of his family.  

Hank was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, a member of the First Friday Friars and Catholics at Work OC.  His long term work with the Orange Catholic Foundation was fundamental to advancing the capital campaign known as For Christ, Forever which helped make Christ Cathedral a reality, and his work as Director of Marketing for Christ Cathedral brought world-class events to the campus, such at the Christ Cathedral Drama Series with St. Luke Productions, the premier of several  Sony Studios faith-based films like Hacksaw Ridge, the Shroud Center of Southern California symposiums and of course the amazing Sistine Chapel Exhibit at the Cultural Center.  Here at Santiago Retreat Center, Hank was the architect for the Siempre Adelante! Philanthropic endeavor – his gifts, talent, and hard work – as well as his suffering this past year, is all part of the journey that is Santiago Retreat Center. We are blessed to have him walking this Camino with us all.  

Buen Camino, dear Hank!  Siempre Adelante!

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