JOAN ANN WISWESSER EVANS
JOAN ANN WISWESSER EVANS
February 27, 1936 ~ February 19, 2021
Joan Ann Wiswesser Evans, Age 84, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio,
passed away on February 19, 2021, peacefully, and surrounded by much love.
After a full year of avoiding public places and mask-less people, properly socially distancing,
and learning to opt for NCIS over national news, Joan managed to successfully avoid Covid 19
and any family squabbles over politics; yet Joan finally did lose her battle to an enemy no amount
of avoidance, policy, or even love could beat, cancer. Having raised six children in three different states,
Joan knew how to face life’s challenges with much humor and even more prayer.
It was her unyielding and lifelong faith in God that always kept her moving forward as the strong
matriarch of her large family. And even through her illness Joan continued to muscle through and
radiate love and smiles to her extensive family, all who repeatedly rotated in and out, spending as
much time with her as possible, as she faithfully readied herself to meet her Lord.
Joan was born on February 27, 1936, in Reading, Pennsylvania, to Therese D. Hohl and Karl A. Wiswesser.
Joan attended Central Catholic High School (’54) and is a graduate of Temple University Hospital School
of Nursing (’57) in Philadelphia. Joan worked as a surgical nurse at the Jackson Clinic and at Temple University
Hospital in Philadelphia, and at Community General Hospital in Reading, PA. While in Reading, Joan became
a member of the Reading Civic Opera Society, during which time she performed in The Most Happy Fella,
and The Pajama Game. It was during this time that she met Samuel (Sam) Evans, a young Lincoln Electric
sales engineer from Ohio, who had recently been transferred to the area to cover the Philadelphia territory.
Sam and Joan were married on February 6, 1960, at St. Joseph’s Church in Reading, followed by a champagne
brunch reception at the Stokesay Castle, and honeymooned in the Bahamas.
The couple then settled in and began their family in Joan’s hometown of Reading, PA, welcoming their 1st child
before being transferred to Buffalo, NY, and buying a home in the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville, where they
then went on to have their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th children. Then, with four small children in tow, Sam took another promotion,
moving their quickly growing family to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It was not long before they found themselves expecting,
once again, and, less than a year after settling into their Bethlehem home, bringing home their 5th child. Finally,
as Joan called her, “The grand finale”, they were surprised with their 6th, and youngest, child, making it a perfect half dozen.
For the next thirteen years in Bethlehem, Joan ran a tight ship, cooking for eight every night, managing the daily distribution
of school lunches, wiping tears as she repaired the countless scraped knees, sewing Halloween costumes and prom gowns,
and making sure every individual birthday was a magnificent event. And being the consummate economist for such a large
houseful of people, lunch bags were expected to come back home, as they were capable of “at least 2-3 days of use”; and
though disposable diapers were introduced in 1961, she never gave in until the sixth baby came along…which
equates to well over a decade of dirty cloth diapers! Six children, of six different ages, brought a rotating door of
neighborhood and school friends through the house on a daily basis. Not only was Joan tolerant, many of those friends
turned to her for guidance, and stayed connected to her throughout their lives. And if her home wasn’t busy enough,
Joan and Sam, together, even agreed to occasionally foster a few different young people, including a set of sibling
teens when they sorely needed a stable home. There was always a home cooked dinner, and no one was every turned away.
In spring of 1980, Joan’s husband, Sam, was once more transferred, this time back to Lincoln Electric Headquarters, in
Cleveland, Ohio, to take on the South American, and, eventually, the Russian sales territories. They settled into their
final family home in Cleveland Heights, and enjoyed another 17 years together, raising the rest of their children,
and welcoming their first batch of what would become many grandchildren to come, until Sam, at the age of 64,
lost his own battle with cancer in 1997. Joan was determined to stay in Cleveland Heights, a city she grew to love,
and became the deeply loved sovereign of her small dynasty that, upon her death, included 15 grandchildren,
and 6 great grandchildren, and is still growing…
Joan is survived by her brother, Robert Karl Wiswesser (Kathleen), of Northampton, PA; her six adult children,
Margaret Mary King (Steve) of Chagrin Falls, OH; Ann Louise Sords (Steve-deceased) of Chagrin Falls, OH;
Mark Samuel Evans of Chagrin Falls, OH; Robert Karl Evans (Suzy) of Aurora, OH; Joanne Celeste Evans of Akron, OH;
and Mary Elizabeth Evans of Cleveland Heights, OH; her 15 grandchildren, Mark Neimeister (Jessica) of Bay Village, OH;
Jillian Neimeister of Lakewood, OH; Jessica Neimeister of Chagrin Falls, OH; James Neimeister of Brooklyn, NY,
Erik Sords (Marissa Lewis) of Los Angeles, CA; Peter Sords (Melinda Miller) of Hudson, OH; Samuel Sords of Long Island City, NY;
Katie Evans of Chagrin Falls, OH; Jake Evans of Chagrin Falls, OH; Lukas Evans of Aurora, OH; Elizabeth Evans of Aurora, OH;
Mary Kate Evans of Aurora, OH; Hannah Block of Parma, OH; Matthew Block (Kami Sutterluety) of Cuyahoga Falls, OH;
and Sidney Evans of Cleveland Heights, OH; and her 6 great-grandchildren, Hollis Neimeister of Bay Village, OH;
Owen Neimeister of Bay Village, OH; Maya Verdi of Chagrin Falls, OH; Aurora Sords of Hudson, OH;
Lorelei Block of Cuyahoga Falls, OH; and Wyatt Block of Cuyahoga Falls, OH.
Due to Covid limitations, funeral arrangements have been limited to a private family gathering. Joan will be laid to rest
alongside her husband, Samuel R. Evans, at the Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate, instead, any donations be made to the Hospice Of The Western Reserve.
They were there for our father, and now, this time, our mother. Without them, we don’t know how our parents,
Sam and Joan Evans, would have moved through this last life chapter with such DIGNITY and GRACE.