David Lewis Evitts of Coffeyville, Kansas, passed away at the age of 76, on December 31, 2018 at Coffeyville Regional Medical Center unexpectedly.
David was born on October 30, 1942 to Robert G. and Evelyn L. (Hoggatt) Evitts in Wichita, Kansas. At a young age David's family moved to Coffeyville where he attended school and graduated from Field Kindley Memorial High School.
At an early age David showed a great interest in music. As a young boy, in the Methodist Church where he grew up David started singing solo's. Wearing the uniformed pink choir robe as a young boy and not being of the adult stature, they would stand him on an orange crate to sing. David starting sing soprano in a boys' choir and sang on the radio from Wichita. His interest grew and after completing high school he went on to study at Pittsburgh State University in Kansas, where he played violin in the orchestra and began to study voice seriously as a bass baritone. His professional debut was with the national collegiate chorale that performed in Europe on an USO tour, as well as a summer job with the Funtastics, a group that sang and waited tables in a lounge and restaurant in South Yarmouth on Cape Cod. That summer introduced him to Mark Person and John Moriarty who were influential in his studies in the opera program at the Conservatory in Boston. David won second prize in the Metropolitan Opera's New England Regionals Auditions in 1969. He remained in Boston for 10 years. While in Boston he sang at Emmanuel Church, MIT Choral Society, the Masterworks Chorale, the Boston Cecilia, the Handel & Haydn Society, and with Sarah Caldwell at the Boston Opera and just about every other organization in town. After leaving Boston he pursued a busy career in American regional opera in New York where he made occasional performances in Europe. David was one of the funniest men ever, very generous, warm and energetic; and one of the finest singing actors ever.
David's parents were able to see their son perform in Coffeyville when he returned to a sold out recital. Several years later his mother who had not ever been on an airplane nor having ever really traveled, flew to New York to see David perform with Pavarotti in "Tosca" at the Metropolitan Opera.
Some of David's biggest fans were his brother, Donald G. Evitts of Overland Park, Kansas; sister, Judith A. (Evitts) Furry of Glenpool, Oklahoma; uncle, James Hoggatt and wife Darlene of Coffeyville, Kansas as well as a host of cousins and extended family. David's last bow also leaves behind a whole community of performers who were very near and dear to his heart and his life accomplishments. He is preceded in death by his parents.
David's final wishes were for cremation to take place under the direction of Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel of Coffeyville, and his remains to be scattered in a private service at one of his favorite places as a child. The family sees it only fitting for David's legacy to continue through donations that can be made in David's name to the AGMA Relief Fund American Guild of Musical Artist, 1430 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10018. To leave a message of condolence for the family visit www.fordwulfbrunschapel.com
Judy and Jon,
So sorry to hear of your loss. I remember David through the Field Kindley Choir. He had such a beautiful gift of voice. May peace and comfort become yours.
Joan Elsheimer DarbyCoffeyville, KS
Some of my fondest memories of graduate school at the New England Conservatory involved David. If I entered a room and David was present, I knew I was in for a good time. Somehow, David and I ended up one night in Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Marsha Baldwin's room at the Midtown Motor Inn with a bottle of gin. (Don't read too much into this. It was totally innocent.) I heard him perform scores of times, and I can say without reservation that he was a truly outstanding showman, whether in opera, musical theater, or song recital. He knew how to capture and hold his audience. Whenever David was in town to sing, he never failed to stop by my office for a visit. After he moved back to Kansas, we grew apart. He leaves a empty place in my heart that will never be filled. He was truly a kind and gracious person, a captivating performer, and a dear friend whom I will remember always. Rest in peace, dear soul.
James BynumBoston, MA
To David's family- I know that you feel as I do that David influenced so many people in a positive way, not just through his wonderful voice and performances but through his kindness and warmth toward everyone. Those memories never go away . There is a great legacy that he provided to the world . RIP, David !
D'Anna FortunatoBoston, MA
Judy, so sorry to hear of your loss.
Larry CrosettoCoffeyville, KS
David was one of my best friends in high school. We sang together and enjoyed a wonderful high school time together. He was the most talented, and compassionate person I knew. Having spoken to him several times after he moved back to Coffeyville on Martin St.he remained the same David, although he had lived a lived a life of fame and glory. Love you David
shara lea shortst louis, MO
We was sorry to hear that David passed away. I enjoyed talking to him when we was back home visiting my brother Gary and sister-in-law Barbara Baker
Judy ScearsCanonsburg, PA
So sorry for the loss of our friend and neighbor, David! Our sincere sympathy to Judy and Don for the loss of their brother. He is missed!
Barbara BakerCoffeyville, KS
Judy and Donnie,
I was so sorry to hear of David’s passing. I have many fond memories of hanging out at 306 with Judy and bugging David , and you too Don. He was blessed with an amazing voice that he shared with many. I know he will be missed. Love to both of you, Connee
Connee ShufeltLawrence, KS
My sincere condolences for your loss of such a nice and generous person and so talented! I had the pleasure of hearing David in person singing at the First United Church here in Coffeyville. Later I met him by accident at his mother’s house which was next door to my Aunt Lucille Keeley. I also knew Don when he was dating Loy and I was dating her brother John. So sorry again for your loss and my deepest condolences.
Marjean Wagner HendryxCoffeyville, KS
So sorry for your loss, praying for the family.
Connie pursley RichardsonIndependence, KS
So sorry for David’s passing. He had such a beautiful voice and will be missed by many. Our prayers for peace and comfort. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.
Jo Lynn and Jim FalknerCoffeyville, KS
Don and Judy so sorry to hear about this
Steven MeekKenbridge, VA
So sorry to hear of David’s passing, I remember him when he and my brother were friends in High School and later when his Mother was at the nursing home we would visit. David is now singing with the Angels.
Deanne Cummings (Ernzen)Shawnee, OK