Lad & Lassie owner remembered for love of family, business
William T. "Bill" Evans, 87, of Lake Forest, the long time owner of Lad & Lassie women's and children's clothing store in Wilmette, is shown last fall with members of his family at the store. From left: daughter Patti Evans; Bill Evans; wife Midge; daught
Funeral arrangements were made by Kelley and Spalding Funeral Home, 1787 Deerfield Road, Highland Park. Visitation is 1-5 p.m. Jan. 5, and the funeral is 10 a.m. Jan. 7 at St. Mary’s Church, 175 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Catholic Charities, 721 N. LaSalle Dr., Chicago, IL 60654 or to the charity of your choice.
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:13AM
WILMETTE — William T. “Bill” Evans learned to ski when he was 40 so he could share the outdoor sport with his children as they grew.
His determination to create time for family was mirrored at Evans’ Wilmette clothing store, a multi-generational business whose customers considered it a community treasure.
Evans, who owned Lad & Lassie women’s and children’s wear department store in Wilmette, died Jan. 1 at Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center in Glenview, following a short illness. He was 87.
“He was a good guy,” daughter Mimi Evans said. “A lot of families get together to do board games, but in our family, he planned trips for us, and we did things outside.”
Evans, of Northbrook, said her father was equally dedicated to Lad & Lassie, the family business at 1115 Central Ave., Wilmette. He joined it in 1953, and developed it from a small children’s wear boutique into a store for women and children’s clothing.
“He was fair and honest and kind,” Mimi Evans said Jan. 2. “He would keep the store open for people when they needed it. He extended sales for people who needed it, even when there was really no sale. He thought that was important.”
Evans was born in 1925 in Brooklyn, New York, and soon moved to Chicago. He grew up in the Rogers Park neighborhood, graduating from St. George’s High School, and then volunteered for the Navy, where he served as a radio operator in the South Pacific during World War II. He later graduated from Loyola University in Chicago with a degree in political science.
He married Margaret “Midge” Louise Evans in 1952 and moved to Des Plaines. The family moved to Highland Park in 1960. He and Midge moved again, to Lake Forest, 20 years ago, “but he definitely felt he was a member of the Wilmette community because of the store,” Mimi Evans said.
Evans’ ties to Wilmette extended to the youth baseball teams the store sponsored. He was a member of the Wilmette Optimist Club for decades, and helped the club found Wilmette’s Santa Parade in 1983. That event became what is now the Holiday Parade sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, Mimi Evans said.
He was a member of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Lake Forest, of St. Benedict’s Church in Lake Geneva, where the family had a vacation home, and attended St. Thomas More Church in Boynton Beach, Fla., where he and his wife spent many winters.
In addition to his wife and daughter Mimi, Evans is survived by daughters Patty Millett of Wilmette, Meg Evans of Springfield, Julie Chandler and Annie Evans, both of Breckenridge, Colo., and Elizabeth “Zee” Barry of Arlington Heights; and by sons Bill of Northbrook and Jim, also of Breckenridge. He is also survived by his brother Robert, his sister Virginia Burns, 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.