Steve Evans, a native Nevadan, was raised in Henderson, when Henderson was an Industrial town. Even had a parade to proclaim it so.
His young parents had moved from their Missouri farm in search of a better life. And like most workers of the plants, they lived in the modest housing of Carver Park. It was here where Steve, the eldest of four, and only son, was born to two exceptional people. His father, who passed away in 2007, would go on to become a legendary labor leader and tireless champion of worker rights. His mother continues to live in the family home they built in what was then the desert.
As a teenager Steve became involved in a youth organization founded by Flora Dungan with the help of Myrna Williams and others. This inspiring group, FOCUS, would meet alternately in Marvin Sedway's office adjacent to Circle Park, and Flora's home in the Marycrest neighborhood. They reached-out and touched the lives of hundreds of kids and families navigating the turbulent times of the late 60's and early 70's.
Steve would go on to become a counselor in FOCUS' nationally-recognized runaway house. From there, he went to work for Project Headstart, setting up pre-school programs throughout the West. It wasn't long before he was tapped to join the national office in Washington, DC. This began a 10-year journey and love affair with the nation's capitol. It is here where the influences of the Jesuits of Georgetown University, and a band of Christian activists, would thrust Steve into the world of Social Justice, and challenge him to a faith rooted in the teachings of a long-ago carpenter. Steve was an adult convert to Catholicism, baptized by his Jesuit mentors, on his 24th birthday, at the chapel at Georgetown University.
Between gigs as a bartender at the Watergate, and working for the finest restaurants and caterers, Steve took his turns at the soup kitchens, homeless shelters and halfway houses for the disabled. Befriending both the powerful and the helpless, he and his friends would often bring these two worlds together. And more often than not,they would discover their common humanity.
Steve lobbied Congress against the MX-missile, was interviewed by national newspaper columnists, and was smack in the middle of a movement which would become a movie, "The Good Samaritan," which starred Martin Sheen as Mitch Snyder. He credits his greatest achievement not to any award or accolade, but rather, to the relationship he and three friends developed with an alone and disabled elderly woman, abandoned in a nursing home. With the help of an inner-city parish, they moved her to a seniors apartment, secured a visiting homemaker and visited her almost daily for years, becoming not a cause, but a friend. For the rest of her life.
Steve helped nurture hundreds of Early Childhood Education programs throughout the country, leading him to be sought after as a trainer and consultant in this field. Clients included Cornell University, the United States Navy, Indian and migrant education associations, and numerous school districts and community action programs.
Various moves and schooling would eventually lead Steve home. When he returned in the early 1990s, the Vegas he knew in his youth had grown as if on steroids. The older neighborhoods where he was most comfortable were being abandoned for new Gucci suburbs. But areas of mid-century modern architecture, and the historic neighborhoods of downtown, were like a magnet to Steve. It is here where he settled, and began a history of community service which endures.
Steve began a tree planting project in his neighborhood, and with the help of the city, the Bellagio, Bishop Gorman High School Students, and a band of volunteers, planted hundreds of trees and shrubs. He publishes and pays for (when he gets around to it) the newsletter, "Notes From The 'Hood," and distributes it to 275 homes in his area.
Mayor Oscar Goodman appointed Steve to the 2020 Master Plan Steering Committee and to the Board of Trustees of the Neon Museum. During Steve's tenure, he was Publicity Chair and instrumental in the saving of the La Concha, which will serve as the museum's Visitor Center. In 2001, Mayor Pro-Tem Gary Reese chose Steve to become a Planning Commissioner, a role in which he continues to serve. He's been on numerous committees and is currently Chair of the Downtown Design Review.
Steve is passionate about good architecture, the economic opportunities of historic preservation, the environment and, certainly, the Arts. An early and vocal supporter of the Arts District, he believes its success is the catalyst for a vibrant downtown.
A nationally certified mediator, Steve is an alumnus of the National Judicial College and was the second Nevada recipient of the their Judicial Development, Administrative Law Adjudication certification. He has heard thousands of cases over the past 16 years, primarily worker compensation appeals for the State of Nevada. He also holds a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, N.Y.
Steve lives in the same home he knew as a teenager, built by Flora Dungan in 1964.
- Favorite architect: John Lautner
- Most influenced by: Maya Miller, Flora Dungan, Mom
- Most remembered and missed: Gov. Mike O'Callaghan, Dad
- Favorite periodical:The Sun, Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Favorite Nevada books: "A Liberal Conscience," by Ralph Denton and Michael Green; "The Way It Was," by Georgia Lewis
- Favorite Nevada journalist: Mark Twain
- Favorite more recent Nevada journalist: George Knapp
- Favorite activist: Bono
- Best local project: Lynn Zook's Classic Las Vegas
- Favorite community group: The Flamingo Club
- Most inspirational Nevadan: Louis Vitale
- Most missed: Easy Driving
- Most passionate about: Downtown renaissance