Noel Evans, political aide, journalist, dies

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Noel Soderberg Evans, wife of D.C. Council member Jack Evans, died yesterday after battling cancer for more than two years. She was 46.

“She was a wonderful wife,” Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, said. “She had a gift of making everyone she met feel special. She would talk to you and make you feel like you’re the only thing that matters.”

Mrs. Evans was born in Minneapolis, the second of seven children. She graduated in 1974 from St. Margaret’s Academy in Minneapolis before attending St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Ind. She briefly attended Georgetown University, after moving to the District with her mother, who had taken a job with the Democratic National Committee.

Mrs. Evans finished her undergraduate studies at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif., in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

After earning her undergraduate degree, she returned to the District and worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Sidney Yates, Illinois Democrat; then for U.S. Rep. Pete McCloskey, California Republican. Mrs. Evans also worked on the presidential campaign of Walter F. Mondale in 1984.

She received a master’s degree in broadcast journalism and public affairs from American University in 1985. Upon graduation, she was a reporter for ABC News in San Francisco, then for WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Md. She was an assistant producer for “In Washington News Service” and a legislative producer for C-SPAN.

Next she served as the assistant press secretary in Sen. Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign. In 1989 she wrote for Institutional Investment in New York City, but shortly returned to the District and began a successful career in commercial and residential real estate.

Mrs. Evans was most recently associated with Millennium Partners, developers of the Ritz Carlton in the West End and in Georgetown.

Mrs. Evans met her husband in 1988 at a presidential primary event. They were married in 1994 and had triplets two years later.

During her difficult illness, Mrs. Evans’ desire to raise their children inspired her to exhaust every possible treatment and to maintain hope.

“As I like to say, I may not be an important person, but my kids think I’m pretty important. So everything you do is really appreciated,” she wrote in a note to her doctors shortly after she was diagnosed.

“Even after [being diagnosed], her goal was to give the kids memories of her … whether it was going to France or Glen Echo Park, because she wasn’t sure what they would remember,” Mr. Evans said. “She loved life. She was a fighter, right until [her death].”

In addition to her husband, Jack, Mrs. Evans is survived three children, Katherine, Christine and John; her father and stepmother, Jerry and Janet Soderberg of Delray Beach, Fla.; five brothers, Jerry of Boca Raton, Fla., Jim of Shorewood, Minn., John of London, Jeff of Chatham, N.J., Tom of Woodbury, Minn.; and a sister, Sheri Pittman of Delray Beach.

A viewing is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. today at Joseph Gawler’s Sons, 5130 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Foundry United Methodist Church, Sixth and P streets NW. A second service will be held Tuesday in Minneapolis, at the Basilica of St. Mary, with burial to follow.

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