Greater Victoria has lost a prominent community figure and local historian.
Gregory Mark Evans died on Dec. 3 at the age of 66. He was born in Nanaimo, and lived most of his life in Victoria. He was well known for his depth of knowledge on local history and on beer and brewing.
Evans attained a master’s degree in economic history with a thesis on the history of brewing beer in B.C. from the University of Victoria.
He started his career at the Royal BC Museum before serving as the executive director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, then the Maritime Museum of BC, and most recently as an archivist for the Township of Esquimalt.
“He was fun, and he had a wicked sense of humour, and was great story teller,” said Sherri Robinson, who worked with him at the Archives for seven years. “He had such an absolute knowledge of things…It was really wonderful to see his interaction with people coming in, and to watch the wheels turn in his head as he prepared the answers.”
Evans also always kept active in the B.C. beer scene by giving keynote speeches at beer events, leading beer-themed adventures with Maple Leaf Tours, or advising Victoria beer events.
“Greg was a very gentle man with a huge passion for the history of beer and brewing in the Victoria area. He devoted much time to this pursuit and I believe he was writing a book about that history,” said Gerry Hieter, executive director of the Great Canadian Beer Fest. “For a man who went about things so quietly, he was always promoting something that had to do with beer. He used to consult with me on which food and beer pairings would work for one of his ventures. He will be missed.”
Victoria Beer Week organizer and author of Craft Beer Revolution, Joe Wiebe, also worked closely with Evans after he first turned to him for knowledge, and soon formed a friendship.
“He was very charismatic and very down to Earth,” Weibe said. “He was a very entertaining speaker, I was always excited to hear him talk.”
Wiebe said Evans’ health had first started turning over a year ago, though he didn’t know why.
“He didn’t share what was going on, but I met him for lunch recently and he looked like he’d aged,” Wiebe said.
Weibe said that just days before he died they had spoken on the phone and planned for an upcoming lunch meeting.
“I’m losing a great friend, but just as sad is that the community is losing an amazing resource,” Wiebe said.
Evans is survived by his father, Frank, his wife Susan, daughter Machala and step-children Ben and Natalie, and grandson Gabriel.
A celebration of life will be held at Spinnaker’s Brewpub at 308 Catherine St. on Saturday, January 19 at 1 p.m. (for more information, you can visit the Facebook event page). Donations can also be made in his memory to the “Gregory Evans Memorial Scholarship” through the History Department at the University of Victoria.