William Merritt Evans April 16, 1936 - September 10, 2019

William Merritt (Bill) Evans, age 83 of Eagan, formerly Saint Paul. Passed peacefully on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Preceded in death by son Glenn, sister Barbara and granddaughter Angela. Bill will be dearly missed by his wife of 65 years, Pat; daughters Pam (Bob), Laurie (Robert), Linda (Brian) and son Bill (Lynn); grandchildren Vicky (Nick), Barbie (Brian), Billy and Leah; great-grandchildren Kora, Ruby, Lily, Chloe, Whitney, Luke and Abbie; special niece Carolyn (Sonny), nephew Tim (Scott) and other relatives. Thank you to the faithful and loving friends throughout the years musically, professionally and personally. Bill had many devotions throughout his life including his unconditional love for his family. One always knew that they could count on him. Bill retired after 42 years at West Publishing Company. Being a life-long traditional New Orleans Jazz musician, Bill’s sweet trombone and string bass sounds brought great joy and satisfaction to not only his life but to the lives of countless others. He traveled across the globe to share his musical talents in places such as Europe, Australia and throughout the U.S. In addition to being an original member of The Hall Brothers Jazz Band, Bill also formed his own group The Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band. Others that he played with include, but not limited to, The Pigs Eye Jazz Band, Mouldy Figs and 7 years with the Butch Thompson Trio as the house band on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” show. His wonderful sense of humor and wit will be greatly missed. Visitation will be at Willwerscheid Funeral Home, 1167 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55015 on Wednesday, September 18 from 4-7 p.m. followed by a memorial service at 7 p.m. Private interment at Oakland Cemetery. Memorials preferred to the charity of your choice.

Visitation will be at Willwerscheid Funeral Home, 1167 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55015 on Wednesday, September 18 from 4-7 p.m. followed by a memorial service at 7 p.m. Private interment at Oakland Cemetery.

Condolences(3)

  1. REPLY
    Dick Parker says

    I admired Bill as a musician — I was a fan — 40 years ago, and 30 years ago he became a personal musical mentor to me as well as a friend. He was skilled and generous as a bandleader, as well as a hell of a player. I’ll always miss him. My deepest sympathy to his family.

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    Amy Nicolai says

    I met Bill through his attendance of performances by the Southside Aces jazz band, and later heard him perform with his New Orleans Jazz Band at Bennett’s Chop and Railhouse in St. Paul. Despite more than a half-century age difference between the two of us, we got along very well with one another, and it didn’t take long for us to strike up a friendship. Bill was very generous with his knowledge of New Orleans jazz and liked to share stories about the old New Orleans musicians he played with as well talk about the fine details of playing this style of jazz.

    Bill was a lifelong learner. It seemed like every time I spoke to him in-between sets of performances by his band or in the audience of another band he always had some information he’d recently read or heard about to share. History, politics, sports, music and more all interested him. This interest in learning extended to the music he played. His New Orleans Jazz Band played quite a few songs that are rare in the repertoire of most New Orleans style jazz bands today.

    His decades of work at West Publishing Company, experience performing jazz both locally and nationally, numerous friendships, marriage, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all brought him into contact with countless people.

    We will all miss him.

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    kate malone says

    Bill was my boss at West Publishing and was a great mentor and musician. I will never forget the kindness he showed to not only myself but to his employees .May he rest in the arms of the Lord. Peace and healing prayers to his loved ones.

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