Mary Johnston Evans

Feb. 28, 1930 - May 5, 2014
Mary Johnston Evans, Feb. 28, 1930 - May 5, 2014

Mary Johnston Evans, who had a successful career in business and was once honored as one of the 200 top corporate women by BusinessWeek magazine, died of complications of Alzheimer’s disease on May 5 at the Greens at Cannondale, an assisted-living facility in Wilton, Conn. She was 84 and had lived in East Hampton and New York City.

Remembered as smart, witty, and charming, Mrs. Evans was said to be one of the most successful women of her generation, one who inspired many women to take leadership positions in their communities and in business.

She served as vice chairwoman of the board of Amtrak, and on the boards of Delta Air Lines, Household International, Saint-Gobain Corporation, Sunoco, Baxter International, Dun & Bradstreet, Moody’s, and Scudder, Stevens, and Clark.

In her civic career, she served on the boards of Carnegie Hall, the Major Gifts Committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brick Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, St. Anthony’s Hospital, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, United Appeal, and the Y.W.C.A. in Okalahoma.

She was born Mary Catherine Johnston on Feb. 28, 1930, in Shawnee, Okla. She went to high school in Oklahoma City and attended Wellesley College and the University of Oklahoma. Her first husband, Ben Head, died before her.

She was a member of the Conference Board, an international business association, and during a meeting in Washington, D.C., in 1981, she met James H. Evans, who was also a member of the board. They were married in 1984. He survives her.

Among the honors she received, she was inducted into the Okalahoma Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Service Award at the University of Oklahoma, the Liberty Bell Law Day Award for outstanding contributions to the legal profession by a layperson, and the Directors’ Choice Award of the National Women’s Economic Alliance.

She had many firsts that she was proud of, including being the first woman to address the Judicial Conference of the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court and the first woman to address the Economic Club of Oklahoma City. She was also the president of the Junior League in Okalahoma City. In New York City, she was a member of the Colony Club.

In East Hampton, where she and Mr. Evans owned a house for 25 years, she belonged to the Maidstone Club and the Garden Club of East Hampton.

She was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees and the University of Oklahoma Sooners.

In addition to her husband of 30 years, Mrs. Evans is survived by three children from her first marriage, Marcy Head Benson and Eric Talbot Head, both of Denver, and Paul Johnston Head of Okalahoma City. A brother, Paul Ross Johnston of Vail, Colo., and two stepchildren, Carol Evans Jepperson of Salt Lake City and Joan Evans Madsen of Maui, Hawaii, also survive, as do two grandchildren.

A service will be held at the Brick Presbyterian Church, on the corner of 91st Street and Park Avenue, tomorrow at 3 p.m.

Donations in her name have been suggested to the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 360 Lexington Avenue, New York City 10017, or the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s Research Fund, 13001 East 17th Place, MS-A065, Aurora, Colo. 80045.