Bob Evans (restaurateur)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bob Evans
Born (1918-05-30)May 30, 1918
Died June 21, 2007(2007-06-21) (aged 89)
Occupation Restaurateur, Marketer
Years active 1948–2007
Spouse(s) Jewell Victoria Waters
Children Stanley Lewis II, Robbin Lewis, Deborrah Anne, Robert Steven, Gwendolyn Elizabeth, John Robert Evans

Bob Evans (May 30, 1918 – June 21, 2007) was an American restaurateur and marketer of pork sausage products. He is perhaps best known for the American restaurant chain bearing his name. The company also owns Owens Country Sausage.

Bob Evans' farm in Rio Grande, Ohio

Early life and career[edit]

Robert Lewis "Bob" Evans born on May 30, 1918, to Elizabeth Lewis and Stanley L. Evans in Sugar Ridge, Ohio,[1] located in Center Township in Wood County, Ohio where his father and uncle farmed on rented land.[2]

The family moved to Gallia County, Ohio in 1929, where young Bob and his two sisters could grow up in the company of their many aunts and uncles. The family settled in Gallipolis, Ohio where his father owned and managed a grocery store.[3] Young Bob attended public schools in Gallipolis and would graduate with honors in 1937 from the Greenbrier Military School, a boys-only private military boarding high school in Lewisburg, West Virginia. He attended The Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine from 1937 to 1939.[4]

Bob married Jewell Waters in June 1940. They moved to Gallipolis, where he bought a restaurant named the Malt Shop in the early 1940s. When Bob was inducted into the Army in 1943, he sold his interest in the restaurant to a friend.

Bob Evans Farms got its start when Evans began making sausage on his southeastern Ohio farm to serve at a 12-stool diner he owned in nearby Gallipolis in 1948. Evans had difficulty when attempting to seek satisfactory sausage, so he began slaughtering his own using the best parts of the hog. The building where he made the sausage was built with open ends, at the suggestion of his father, so it could be used as a machinery shed if the sausage business failed. In 1953, a group of friends and family recognized the growing demand for Bob's sausage and became his business partners by establishing Bob Evans Farms. The original Bob Evans Restaurant on the farm was called The Sausage Shop. Although it started with 12 stools, today the restaurant can seat 134.

Bob Evans Restaurants[edit]

In 1953, the business was incorporated as Bob Evans Farms Inc. By 1957, the company opened a total of four sausage plants to keep up with demand. In 1963, Bob Evans Farms Inc. was listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange with an original issue of 160,000 shares.

Local restaurants weren't willing to buy Evans' sausage, so Evans started his own, with the first opening on his farm in 1962. These restaurants were designed in a red and white color "Steamboat Victorian" style. The first of these "new" Bob Evans Restaurants was located in Chillicothe, Ohio, but by the early 1970s the restaurants had expanded throughout Ohio. Expansion into other states was started in the late 1970s. As of 2012, Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is a $1.7 billion restaurant and retail food products company.[5]

Evans served as a director and president of the company until his retirement on December 31, 1986. Evans died on June 21, 2007 at the age of 89. He was survived by his wife, Jewell, and their six children.

Accomplishments and community support[edit]

Although Evans retired from the company in 1986, he remained actively involved in his community and with numerous causes. Evans encouraged local farmers to use more efficient livestock grazing techniques that are better for the environment.

The only person in Ohio to be honored three times by the National Wildlife Federation, Evans spent more than 40 years preserving wildlife. He also planted seeds for the future of the agricultural industry through his support of youth organizations such as 4-H and FFA and his involvement in higher education. He is a former member of the Ohio Board of Regents, the state's public higher education governing board. He also worked with college students at The Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He also supported many community organizations, including the Heart Fund, Ohio Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Arthritis Foundation and Easter Seals.

In 2005, Evans was honored by FAO as an inaugural "I'm a Child of Appalachia" honoree for his philanthropic efforts, entrepreneurial success and support of improved access to higher education in the region. The "I'm a Child of Appalachia" campaign uses individual success stories to promote greater investment in the region to increase student access to post-secondary education.[6]

On March 24, 2013, Broadway announced the production of a musical based on the life and lies of Bob Evans. This musical was rumored to be started by loyal Bob Evans fans sending a petition to the White House with 40,384 signatures requesting the production of a musical in support of Bob Evans and Bob Evans Restaurants. The musical is still in production with several writers rumored to be on staff including Tim Curry, Bill Cosby, Josh Grobin, Chad Vader, and members from the youtube sensation, The Key of Awesome. Although currently mere speculation, some song titles for the musical have been leaked including "Bring me back my Bob-b-q," "Dishtank, Dishtank," "They wanted it To-Go," "Nursing home be damned," "Penny Tipper," "Getting On-Top," and the signature song, "Down on the farm." One additional song has already been recorded and plans are to release it as a single to help plug the upcoming musical. The single is the jazzy swing song "Fake Eggs" and will be recorded by the up and coming pop stars Hanson [7].

Death and burial[edit]

Bob Evans died in 2007 while being treated at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, from complications of a stroke. He was recuperating from pneumonia when he suffered the fatal cerebrovascular accident.[8] Bob Evans is buried in Mound Hill Cemetery in Gallipolis, Ohio.[9]

Upon learning of his death Ohio governor Ted Strickland remarked: "Bob Evans was a true original. His life's work was bringing the warmth, hospitality and good food of Ohio to rest of the nation. We here in Ohio are all proud of him and we are all deeply saddened by his passing." [10]

Bob Evans Farm[edit]

Bob and Jewell Evans purchased the Niamiah Woods farm near Rio Grande, Ohio from Rio Grande College in 1952. They lived in the farmhouse for nearly twenty years. Now the old homestead is called Bob Evans Farm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is the home of the Homestead Museum about Bob Evans and his company. The Bob Evans Farm Festival, featuring crafts, antiques, demonstrations, and entertainment, is held every year at the farm in Rio Grande during the second weekend of October. [11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary, Sunday Times-Sentinel (Gallipolis-Pomeroy, Ohio) Saturday, June 24, 2007 page A005
  2. ^ 1920 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Portage Township, Wood County, Ohio, Dwelling 38, Family 38, Stanley Evans household; National Archives microfilm Roll: T625_1449; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 174; Image: 593., Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com (accessed 15 May 2012)
  3. ^ 1930 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Second Ward, Gallipolis City, Gallipolis Township, Gallia County, Ohio, Dwelling 238, Family 278, Stanley Evans household; National Archives microfilm Roll: 1803; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 6; Image: 473.0; FHL microfilm: 2341537, Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com (accessed 15 May 2012)
  4. ^ Obituary, Sunday Times-Sentinel (Gallipolis-Pomeroy, Ohio) Saturday, June 24, 2007 page A005
  5. ^ Bob Evans Corporate Offices Fact Sheet: Business Overview http://www.bobevans.com/ourcompany/factsheet.aspx (accessed 15 May 2012)
  6. ^ I'm a Child of Appalachia
  7. ^ http://kilbasa88.wix.com/bobevans-themusical#!news/c66t
  8. ^ Angel Jennings, Bob Evans, 89, Restaurateur With Chain Built on Sausage, Dies, The New York Times, June 22, 2007.
  9. ^ Obituary, Sunday Times-Sentinel (Gallipolis-Pomeroy, Ohio) Saturday, June 24, 2007 page A005
  10. ^ Bizjournals.com
  11. ^ Bob Evans Farm Festival http://www.bobevans.com/ourfarms/bobevansfarm/annualfarmfestival.aspx

External links[edit]