JOHN "IAN" EVANS
December 29,1953 - July 11, 2021
With great love and much sadness, we share the passing of “Ian” John Evans. Manitoba lost one of its best-known exponents of pipe band music this week when Ian Evans passed away after a lengthy illness. Ian left us as he lived - on his own terms, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Ian will be especially missed by his loving wife of 40 years Anita; sons, Seamus (Tannis), and Keegan; sisters, Paula (Mike) Meindl, and Heather Jaculak (Marcello); our Sean Walker; and a legion of extended family and friends. Ian is predeceased by his parents, Johnny and Betty “Liz” Evans; and parents-in-law, Peter and Betty Epp.
Born in Winnipeg, Ian's trade was printing, which led him to a 30-year career as a printing supervisor at Winpak. Ian's passion was bagpipes. He loved teaching, competing, judging, writing and revising tunes, and the shenanigans of each aspect of piping for most of his 67 years.
Ian grew up in East Kildonan on the north side of Winnipeg. He was a member of the Transcona Junior Pipe Band from an early age, often competing in solos and band events. In those days, the Winnipeg area was rich with experienced Scottish pipe band instructors and Ian soaked it all in. He especially loved his time under the direction of John Pollock.
He became pipe-major of the Transcona Junior Pipe Band in 1975, and then in 1978 took over leadership of the senior pipe band, which had been competing successfully in Grades 2 and 1 at various times. Ian led the band for a number of years, and successfully maintained the band’s reputation as a good band that loved to have fun. In 1982, Ian’s band travelled to the Chicago Highland Games, where it placed 4th in the large, Grade 2 event, and performed, by special request, for then, Vice President, George H.W. Bush, in the Chicago Hilton!
Following the breakup of the original Transcona band in 1984, Ian played a key role in a number of bands, first merging Transcona with the Stirling Pipe Band, and then eventually becoming pipe major. During this time, Stirling became known for its innovative and high-energy performances. The band did very well on the Grade 2 circuit in many parts of North America.
In 1994, the Stirling Pipe Band recorded a live CD entitled Horse of a Different Colour which featured the band performing “Steam Train to Mallaig” by Mary-Ann MacKinnon and “Horse of a Different Colour” by Michael O’Neill, recorded by CBC and first played by the band at the 1994 New Music Festival in Winnipeg.
Following Stirling, Ian worked with and led several other bands, including Winnipeg Celtic, Erin Street and Transcona & District. He continued to write and arrange music and medleys, judged, taught and was always up for a chat about tunes, reeds, chanters and anything band or piping related.
Ian was always at the centre of the circle, cigarette between fingers while he tuned chanters, blew reeds, or practiced. There are so many stories of his legendary adventures! He was a rascal, a great character, and though he often hid it, he had a big, soft heart. If you knew him at all, it was clear that he cared a lot about the people around him, especially his family and his band family.
Ian is survived by his wife Anita and their two sons, Seamus and Keegan. Condolences to Ian’s family and all his pipe band friends.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held for Ian at a future date when it is safe for everyone to come together. In the meantime, Ian’s family kindly requests that his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos and/or sharing your own memories and stories using the comment section on this page.
The family extends their heartfelt appreciation for the wonderful care and support Ian received from the doctors and staff at HSC-GA4, Charlene and his "ladies" at 7-Oaks Geriatric Day Hospital, as well as Regena and Crystal, his homecare "ladies".
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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