Richard Van Camp
Author ~ Story Teller ~ Inspiration
Good afternoon, Everyone.
Welcome. Thank you for being here. Thank you to everyone who’s traveled great distances to join us today, as well. Mahsi cho. You bring strength. Every person here today brings us strength. Mahsi
Mahsi cho, Father Magnus. Mahsi cho to the singers and performers. You bring us all such strength.
Mahsi cho, as well, to Mrs. LeGuerrier, who also happens to be my Godmother.
Before we begin today and as we get settled, I wanted to share with everyone that the late Seraphine Evans—Trevor’s grandmother--told me that this cathedral appeared in a dream to the late Bishop Trocellier. He was shown everything. He awoke briefly to sketch out what he was shown in his dream: every room: every floor, where you’re sitting. When the architects came up to talk about the church that the Bishop wanted built, they argued that this church would be too big for a town this small.
The Bishop said that his dream was heaven sent and, therefore, it would be built as it was shown.
I think this is a perfect way to begin celebrating the life of Trevor James Dallas Evans. His heart, just like his sister’s—Elly Mae’s—their hearts were too big for a town this small and we are all better people because of this and their heaven sent gifts to us all.
Bless you all for being here. On behalf of the family. You all bring our hearts medicine and we are grateful.
My name is Richard Van Camp and I was one of Trevor’s best friends. As I say this, there are probably 20 men standing here today who could say the same thing. That’s a lovely way to be known.
Trevor was and will always be my muse. I’m a better man for having grown up with both Trevor and Elly. And I’m a better human being for having grown up with Earl and Marlene as my favourite Uncle and Aunty. Earl and Marlene, thank you for asking me to speak on behalf of your family during this heartbreaking time.
Trevor James Dallas Evans who was born at the University of Alberta Hospital on June 2, 1974 in Edmonton. He was 43 years old when crossed over. His parents, as you know, are Marlene and Earl Evans. His late sister was Elly Mae Evans who passed in 2003 on April 23rd. I would like to acknowledge her son, Ty Marten, who is with us today. Ty, Earl and Marlene, I am sorry you have experienced so much loss again.
No parent should ever live to see their child pass before they do. This is the second time Earl and Marlene have had to face this tragedy and, Marlene and Earl, please know we are all here for you. May we comfort you. May we blanket you with friendship and support. Ty, you lost both an uncle and a best friend. I understand that Trevor drove you to volleyball practice not even ten days ago because he didn’t want you to be cold. That was Trevor right there: all heart, all love.
My first memory here on planet Earth was Trevor Evans running in his gonch, barefoot on the gravel of Sesame Street. I think Stephen Windiandy was chasing him. It might have been Gillis. This must have been around 1976. My second memory here on Planet Earth is his mother, Marlene, walking down Sesame Street in her housecoat with a cup of fresh coffee. She was coming over to our house to watch The Edge of Night.
Trevor had many names: Trevor, Trev, “TJ”,” Beefcake”—the late Dave Dragon used to call him “Cracker” on account of Trevor’s blond hair. By the way, the late Dave Dragon told Trevor a long time ago, “Cracker, the most beautiful women and the handsomest men in the world come from Fort Smith.” Cousins, I think if we all take a moment to look around, the late Dave Dragon was right on the money.
To all of us, Trevor was a son, a friend, a cousin, a brother, a father, a nephew, a sweetheart.
Like so many of us here, Trevor was a graduate of JBT, PWK and Aurora College’s RRTP Program. There was nothing Trevor couldn’t do.
Trevor could butcher 6 caribou an hour with the right partner after a successful hunt with so many of his heroes like his dad, Earl, like Kenny Hudson, like Norm Dievert, like Richard Mercredi, Senior, Ivan Bourque. Trevor was 12 when he shot his first moose. Trevor was 13 when he shot his first buffalo. He was only 11 when he shot his first caribou in Dogrib country at Fabre Lake. Earl told me that when Trevor would hunt caribou, he’d do an early morning and late afternoon hunt for white wolves. While the rest of us were watching Degrassi Junior High after school, Trevor was running his own trapline at the age of 13.
Trevor was a crack shot. At 17, in the early 90s, there was a Ducks Unlimited shooting competition here in town. I’m sure many of you remember this. Trevor wanted that limited edition shotgun that Ducks Unlimited had put up for a prize. Everyone did. The rules were that all participants were allowed two shots per target. After Trevor pulled the trigger twice, the judges were convinced he’d hit a bull’s-eye once and missed the second time. Trevor knew what he’d already accomplished. He insisted he’d hit the same hole twice. Wayne Martin, who was the Range Judge, pulled out the calipers to measure the bullet hole and, sure enough, Trevor had, in fact, put two bullets through the same hole. Trevor won that shotgun and he was the talk of Fort Smith for a good long while.
Trevor held many positions throughout his life: he pumped gas at Kelly’s. He was also a big game guide in Saskatchewan. His last job was one he was so proud of: he worked for the Metis Association collecting Elders’ stories from the Metis Elders. I can’t wait to see these when they’re ready.
Trevor was also a world class DJ. How many of your remember gyrating to “The Beefcake Mix”?
18 years ago, Trevor handed Leslie-Anne Jones a CD he’d made called the “Hot Off The Trapline Mix (Volume 1)” with hits like “Ever See You Again” by Lennie Kravitz, “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, “Write this Down” and “Run” by George Straight and “Angel” by Shaggy—to name a few.
Some of his favourite songs were “Radio Ga Ga” by Queen and “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner. I’m sure several of us here today are the result of Trevor’s perfect planning to get our parents all out on the dance floor and celebrate the beauty of Fort Smith and life together and in a good way. Hokah Hay, Uncle Trev!
Our friend Sarah Hodgkins shared: “I have so many things going through my mind: everything from the unbuttoned shirts, the rosy cheeks, the laugh. His ability to make honour role even though he wasn’t in class half the time. He was the original skinny Jean wearer. I picture him in that red and white PWK volleyball jersey.”
Thank you, Sarah.
She reminded me of the time Elly-May wanted Jeans even better than they had them in the city. Trevor tacc’d her favourite pair outside and shot them with his .410 for the “buckshot” look. Elly-Mae loved them even more and wore those Jeans with pride.
My favorite stories of Trevor are when we were at winter camp back when he must have been around 10, 11. 12. There were a whole bunch of us like Jon Liv JQ, Junior Mercredi, Chris Heavyshield, Ashley Mabbit, my brother Roger. Trevor noticed that the way the late and great Lawrie Hobart was chain sawing a tree for our camp wood supply that things just weren’t adding up in terms of safety for Lawrie Hobart’s colleague Bernie Bergman, who had just finished setting up his 12 by 14 canvas tent with a potbellied woodstove to keep him nice and warm. Trevor pointed out that, if Mr. Hobart continued in the direction he was cutting, the entire spruce tree would land directly on the tent currently occupied by Bernie Bergman. We all watched as Trevor tried to continually warn Lawrie, but Lawrie insisted that he knew what he was doing. I still can’t believe that we all watched in continual amazement when the tree fell on Bernie’s tent frame with Bernie Bergman in it. No one was harmed, luckily. I believe my mom, Rosa, snapped a picture of Bernie Bergman crawling out of the tent with a cuss word on his lips for both Trevor for calling it and for Lawrie who didn’t listen. I can still see Lawrie Hobart blushing, apologizing to his compadre. Boy, did we all laugh out of relief. Trev was right. At 11, Trevor already had a PhD in the bush. And this is a complement to Earl and Marlene, his parents.
It was at this Bush Camp that we heard the words that would help us make our way as young Northern men in the world and, thankfully, as fathers. It was Bernie Bergman who told us all on our last day out on the land: “A true northerner leaves each place and each person better than they found them.
I can’t imagine being an instructor at any level and having Trevor Evans as a student. He was so wise, so smart and he was always two moves ahead of everyone in the room.
Another favourite memory of mine about Trevor was when Trevor was out at Tsu Lake as part of the RRTP Program. The story goes that the propane had run out at the kitchen tent and the milk soured in the fridge. Trev’s buddy Mike Mahussier kept fantasizing about how great the fresh ice cold milk would be, straight from Kaesers, when it arrived. When that Twin Otter landed, Trevor raced ahead of Mike and made it look like he’d be the first to take a glorious sip of the ice cold milk, only to switch it with the warm, curdled, lumpy milk. Mike grabbed it, thinking he was going to have the first and best and sweetest taste in the world, only to have a huge lumpy curdled milk clot land on his face. Again, I can still hear Trevor laughing as he told this story.
I can still hear Mike Mahussier laughing too: shaking his head, muttering with a smile: “...Beefcake.”
My personal favourite was when Trevor entered grade 8 at PWK. For the annual PWK slave auction, I asked the MC to crank George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” loud on stage and we asked Trevor to get up and dance and, you know what?, Trevor James Dallas Evans danced even better than George Michaels. We were all in awe. He stumped me. From badminton to darts to hunting and trapping, Trevor was a man of many passions. He even jigged when he was a little boy to make some cash.
Jamie Therrion, we would like to honour you today, as the mother of Trevor’s children and for being his life partner for 16 years. Your love for Trevor, your devotion, your belief in him was incredible. You are incredible. You are also an incredible mom. Thank you for making Trevor a father. You can feel the love and pride Trev has for each of you in every picture in the slideshow that I hope will be playing again this afternoon at the reception.
Jamie shared with us that when Trevor was being medivacced to Edmonton from Yellowknife, Jamie prayed and prayed to Elly Mae for guidance and for strength. Imagine our surprise when we learned that Trevor’s night nurse was named Ellie. We took that as a comfort and as the sign we needed to remain hopeful.
As you know, the bond between Trevor and his sister, Ellie May, was one of friendship, support and devotion, so much so that in August of 1992, when Ellie May’s appendix ruptured, Trevor’s detonated two weeks later. How do you explain that?
I bet you there is no doctor in the world who can explain the bond that those two shared. I’m sure that Trevor didn’t want Ellie to be alone in her recovery so he decided to honour her by going through the same experience to share a similar scar.
How could we have known that having Trevor’s night nurse with his sister’s name was the Creator’s gentle way of letting us all know that he was sending Elly Mae to take her brother home.
Trevor is survived by his children: Trey, Chance Diamond, Elle Evans and his nephew Ty Martin--Elly Mae’s son. Trey, Chance, and Elle, you are Trevor’s greatest achievements. All three of you and Ty are proof of the universe’s kindness.
Trey, we see your father’s kindness and thoughtfulness in you.
Chance Diamond, we see his sincerity in you.
Elle, we see so much of your aunt Elly-Mae in you.
Ty, I was sharing with you the other day that with all of the love you’ve been given by your parents and your grandparents, and with all that you know about the Bush, you could be running the north in 30 years. You have so much love behind you and everyone here is cheering for all of you. Let us know what you need to make your dreams come true.
All of you are gifts to his memory and to Trevor’s legacy.
At this time, we would like to thank the doctors, nurses and volunteers at the Fort Smith Health Centre, The Stanton Regional Hospital in Yellowknife and University of Alberta Hospital where Trevor passed on Wednesday November 8, 2017. We would like to thank NorthWestern Air Lease and Air Tindi for their medevac system and to all the first responders who were there to get Trevor and Marlene where they needed to be.
We would also like to thank Richard and Barb and their son Junior Mercredi for stopping in both nights that Trevor was in the hospital. We also want to thank Darla Therrion, Nicole Labine, Leslie-Anne Jones and we’d like to thank Mona Evans Fox’s children—Steve and Warren--for stopping in to give us all strength.
Every single one of us who was there thought Trevor would pull through.
The family has asked me to thank the amazing crew at the Metis Association. JP and Donald Desjarlais, mahsi cho for building Trevor’s coffin. We would also like to thank the Labine family for lining the coffin and giving it the finishing touches for display at Trevor’s Wake.
We want to thank Brad Bouque and Dan Star who stayed during the night at Trevor’s wake so he was never alone. Mahsi cho.
To the cooks--especially Denis Bernatchez and Michel and Colette Labine, to the bakers, the singers and the drummers and the helpers at Trevor’s Wake, mahsi cho. You are all so beautiful. To Debbie Congram and Vallery Acton, Marlene’s sisters, mahsi cho.
To Lorraine Tordiff and Gwen Pischinger for the floral arrangements, mahsi cho. They were perfect.
The Family would also like to acknowledge Kenny Hudson for his leadership and support for booking the Roaring Rapids Hall for the wake and for the Reception, which will follow today’s service. Kenny and your family and your fine team at the Metis Association, you’ve done so much for us, Earl and Marline want to thank you for being such a Lighthouse during this difficult time. Mahsi cho.
Thank you all for your prayers and affirmations through texts, phone calls and posts on Social Media. Thank you for your visits and your support. Mahsi cho to everyone who traveled to be here today. Each of you bring strength and we are grateful.
Mahsi cho to Sandy Poitras who made the pamphlets.
Mahsi cho to Julie and Georgette who made the slideshow honouring Trevor’s magnificent life as a son, as a father, as a friend.
Marlene was saying yesterday that we could write a book with all of the thank you’s that deserve to be shared. Please know that if I, Richard Van Camp, have forgotten anyone, it’s my fault. Please let me know any names that need to be added to our list and I’ll gladly do so. I would like to upload this eulogy online and print it up for anyone who wants it in the future. I’ll keep revising it as we go. Trevor only passed last Wednesday so we are all processing the shock of losing him far too soon, far too young.
Difficult times like this are made a little easier with everyone who steps up to offer their condolences. None of us are built to handle grief alone, so let this be a time for family, friends, good tunes, sweet stories and soul nourishing food. Again, please join us at the Roaring Rapids Hall today after this service for food and fellowship.
Our friends, let us please our focus on giving our very best to Earl and Marlene and Ty, to Jamie, to Trey, Chance Diamond and Elle. Let us all be better friends and hold each other closer.
Trevor, thank you for being my brother, my friend. You will always be a son of Fort Smith. We’re proud to claim you. The northern lights are going to be dancing a little brighter now that you, Elly, your dogs Thorn, Toby and Bracken are all back together.
Build a big fire, brother, so that when our time comes we’ll see you in a moosehide vest, a Metis sash, your favourite slacks and open vested shirt--Sonny MacDonald style-- and gorgeous moccasins and those crystal green eyes that we see now in your son, Chance Diamond.
We love you, Trevor. You left each place and each person who was lucky enough to know you better than when you found us.
Give Elly Mae a hug for us all. Say hi to Dave Dragon. Say hi to your grandparents, Seraphine and John Evans, and to your grandfather, Ernie Bourque, and say hi to the Elders for us.
We love and will always love you.
We, as your family and friends, carry your light now and forever.
Richard Van Camp
Mahsi cho the Town of Fort Smith for the preparations at the cemetery. Mahsi cho to Maurice Evans for guiding us all through the service in the church and at the cemetery. Mahsi cho to the pall bearers. I was proud to have my brother Roger Wah-shee with me, and Junior Mercredi, Dennis O’Connor, Ivan Bourque, Ty Martin, Brad Bourque, your brothers.
Trevor, Trey Evans carried your cross all the way.