Greek-American Historical Museum of Washington State

Making Sweet Music Together
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Making Sweet Music Together

Peter Evans Jr. and Anna Damoulou Evans
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1 Anna and Peter Evans, 2012For 58 years, Peter Evans Jr. and Anna Damoulou Evans have maintained their faith, their vows and their musical interests.  They recall many activities in their Greek Orthodox Church, in their community and with their family where music and singing have played an important part.

Peter’s father, Panagiotis “Spartiarti” Evangelou, came from the village of Galimi on the island of Marmara.  He served in France in World War I and was a baker with the National Guard of Washington State.  Because of his youthful appearance, he was able to enlist by giving a different birth year.  When he returned to New York after the war to receive his citizenship, he was sent to one table where he was told to change his name from Panagiotis to Peter and from Evangelou to Evans, then to another table where he was granted citizenship.

Peter’s mother, Fotini Drakithis (anglicized to Drake,) descended from a Scotsman who sailed the Black Sea and died young in a ship wreck.  Fotini was a very colorful woman and claimed a queenly relationship to Sir Francis Drake although this was never confirmed.  Her grandmother was reported to be the first woman to wear shoes in the area where she lived.

Fotini and Peter married in Istanbul in 1920 in a double wedding with Peter’s brother Louie and his bride Fota (Frances) Anesti.  The two couples may have travelled to the United States at the same time.  Initially Peter and Fotini settled in Turlock, California, where their daughter Mary Marjory was born in 1921.  The family moved from California to Anacortes, Washington, where Peter opened a bakery with an old brick oven fired with logs.  Fotini drove the bakery truck and made deliveries.  Eventually there were two retail bakeries, one on Commercial Street downtown and another to the south.  In 1936 the bank foreclosed the loan on the bakery and everything went on the auction block.  The Evans family moved to Tacoma to be closer to relatives.  In the spring of 1939 Peter had an opportunity to operate a hamburger stand in Everett on Rucker Avenue and the family moved once more.  Peter also worked as a salad chef and a pastry cook until he suffered a gall bladder attack and almost died.  In Everett, cousins were the Koutlas family (see EVERETT REMEMBERED under Making a Living).

PETER EVANS, JR.

Peter Evans Jr. was born in Anacortes on September 24, 1924, and baptized Panagiotis.  Peter’s younger sister Evelyn Evangeline was born in 1926 and brother John in 1935.  With many relatives named John, Peter tells a humorous story in the video segment titled “Any Old Piece of Wood Makes a John.”  In Tacoma the family lived near the College of Puget Sound (now University) and near Peter’s uncle Louie.  Lasko Sarantinos was Peter’s nouno (godfather) (see ALL HER GREEK SOMEDAYS under Keeping Community).

2 Peter (r) in Korea as a young second LeiutenantPeter Jr. graduated from Everett High School in 1942 and obtained a draft deferment to attend college.  He recalls pumping gas at Allen Buick dealership when Pearl Harbor was bombed.  His good friend Snuffy Smith had a sister who died from a burst appendix and her mother found the only religion that could ease her grief was Seventh Day Adventism.  So Snuffy and Peter went off to school together at Walla Walla College, a Seventh Day Adventist school in College Place, Washington.  Following two misadventures by Snuffy and other friends, Peter found himself all alone in College Place and returned to Everett after completing his freshman year.  In November of 1943 with most of his friends already in the service he enlisted in the United States Army with basic training at Fort Lewis, (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Washington.  As a conscientious objector he had the choice of signal corps or medical corps and chose medical training at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.  He was then based in Pennsylvania and scheduled to be sent overseas after the Normandy Invasion.  In July of 1944 he arrived in Liverpool, England, but came down with food poisoning and could not continue to France as scheduled.  In Europe he met a Greek from Chicago who said, “You don’t speak Greek,” and began tutoring Peter.  His parents did not speak3 Fotini and Peter Evans, circa 1960 Greek at home except when keeping mystica (secrets) from their children.  Thus, Peter impressed his relatives upon his return.  The war ended while Peter was still in Europe.  He returned to Everett with the GI Bill and began the fall quarter of 1946 at Everett Junior College with thoughts toward medical school.  He was able to observe post-mortem examinations and worked part time at Everett General Hospital using his military medical experience.

In 1947 he transferred to the University of Washington.  He had a background in chemistry and biology, but he chose to obtain his bachelor’s degree in psychology.  In 1949 his Army reserve sergeant informed Peter he was due for reenlistment and another three-year term ensued.  He was placed in a “control” group until recalled to active duty in October 1950.  He was assigned to Madigan Hospital near Tacoma.  He had also applied for a commission but did not receive a response as he was not in Everett to receive his approval documents.  After finally securing approval, he was sworn in as a second lieutenant by the commanding officer at Madigan in 1951.  That December he received orders to return to Texas and then served 18 months in Korea.  Back in Seattle he joined the 50th Hospital Unit at Fort Lawton.  Peter served until 1977 and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

ANNA DAMOULOU EVANS

4 Gust and Calliope in the kitchen,circa 1960Peter met Anna while singing in the choir at Seattle’s Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption.  Anna’s father, Konstantinos Timoleou Damoulos (Gust T. Diamond), was born in the village of Mermaga near Argos, Greece, in 1891.  He served in World War I and obtained his U. S. citizenship in 1920.  He worked on the railroad in Oregon and Washington before meeting and marrying Calliope Denos who had arrived from Asia Minor in the summer of 1921.  They settled in Seattle where Gust partnered with John Pulakis on an Enumclaw dairy farm.  After that he worked in Alaska, in a sawmill, opened a grocery store and then a fountain and restaurant with Calliope’s brother, George Denos, until retirement.  Anna is the third daughter, born December 12, 1929, after her sisters Katherine in 1924 and Magdalene in 1925.  Gust and Calliope devoted their 5 PICNICretirement to their church and were among the founders of Seattle’s Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in 1939.  They were a pair in the church kitchen; he cutting, chopping and assisting and she cooking and supervising “with an iron hand” from the early turkey dinner days and on to large Greek festivals through the 1960s.  As a tribute to her parents, the icon of Saints Constantine and Eleni hangs prominently in the Evans home.  It was painted in 1895.  Calliope brought it from Turkey and Anna had it professionally restored in 2010.

In Seattle, after graduating from Queen Anne High School Anna attended the Cornish College of the Arts and studied music at the University of Washington.  She met Peter in February of 1954 and they married on June 6, 1954.  Peter and Anna have three children, Peter Dean, born in 1955, Marianna in 1957 and David in 1961.  There are five grandchildren.

6 Peter and Anna Evans wedding, 1954        7 Leaving wedding, 1954

TEACHING AND MAKING MUSIC TOGETHER

Peter’s musical interest began in junior high school and he continued singing in Junior College and in Methodist, Congregational and Greek Orthodox Church settings.  From their first meeting Peter and Anna have sung together in the Assumption choir where Anna was also the organist for many years.  They have also sung together in the Sno-King Community Chorale for over 10 years.

8 David, Anna, Marianna, Peter, and Peter Dean, 1969    9 At Marianna's wedding, (l-r) Peter Dean, Marianna, Anna, Peter, David, 1979

Shortly after their marriage, Peter obtained his license to sell medical insurance, a short-lived livelihood experience.  A session with a counselor taught Peter that either a teaching or social work career best suited him.  He chose the education field and used the GI Bill to secure his teaching credentials at the University of Washington.  Until 1968 he taught science, primarily chemistry, at Jane Adams Junior High, Roosevelt, Lincoln and Ballard High Schools in Seattle.  He then taught chemistry and chaired the science department at Redmond High School until he retired in 1980.  He also continued his military reserve activity including instructing advanced officers’ courses.  From 1982 to 1989 Peter and his son Peter Dean operated the Sylvan Learning Center in Edmonds, Washington.  After a bit too much pizza and Chinese food, he attended and became a Weight Watchers leader.  After 12 years at Weight Watchers he obtained his real estate license and finally retired at age 85.

Along with her music, Anna has been an avid swimmer.  She taught swimming for years in Everett and especially enjoyed teaching children.  One of her students with Down Syndrome went on to earn gold and silver medals in the Special Olympics.

10 EVANS REUNION 2007      11 Anna with daughter Marianna (center) and granddaughter Andrea (left) circa 2000

Their continuing musical interests are obvious when one sees the grand piano, an organ and all the sheet music in their home.  They continue to enjoy their family, a newly remodeled home and active participation in their church.

By John and Joann Nicon, June 2012

PHOTOS
1 Anna and Peter with family icon, 2012
2 Peter (r) in Korea as a young second lieutenant, 1951
3 Fotini and Peter, circa 1960
4 Gust and Calliope Damoulou in the church kitchen, circa 1960
5 Picnic at Angle Lake, Catherine Neckas and Anna in foreground, circa 1940
6 Peter and Anna Evans wedding, (l-r) Standing: Florence Papageorge, Kiki Denos, Nick Nickolas, Presvytera Phoutrides, Peter, Anna, Marian Marino, Ernie Evans, Thalia Denos, George Roussos; Front: Helen Klieros, John Nicon, 1954
7 Peter and Anna as newlyweds, 1954
8 (l-r) David, Anna, Marianna, Peter and Peter Dean, 1969
9 At Marianna’s wedding (l-r) Peter Dean, Marianna, Anna, Peter, David, 1979
10 Evans family reunion (l-r) John Basil Evans, Evelyn Evangeline Evans (Johnson), Peter Evans, Jr., Mary Marjory Evans (Howard), 2007
11 Anna with daughter Marianna (center) and granddaughter Andrea, 2000
Photo 1 by John Nicon; photo 4 from The Assumption Church in History 1939-1979; photo 8 from Assumption Church directory 1969; all others from Evans family collection
SOURCES
Video interview by John and Joann Nicon, May 2012; transcription of oral interview of Gust T. Diamond by Anna Evans, 1979; The Assumption Church in History 1939-1979, Joann Nicon, committee chair