A great friend — to everyone he met


My last interaction with the one and only Dan Evers was Wednesday afternoon, the day before his soul moved on to the better place.

Dan was standing on the sidewalk in front of the Murphy Theatre, on the tail end of a meeting — and what appeared to be a very concentrated moment with our mutual friend Taylor Stuckert, regarding some topic that will undoubtedly improve the situation of Wilmingtonians everywhere.

Always seeking opportunities to embarrass him I thought this was the perfect moment to run out with an open bag of potato chips and offer some to Dan. He chuckled, thanked me, but politely turned down my generosity.

Taylor, I don’t recall if I offered any chips to you. If I didn’t, I apologize. (Note to self, if you offer chips to one, offer chips to everyone.)

After an awkward pause, I said, “Well OK, if you change your mind you know where to find me … and the chips.” I then quickly disappeared back into my theatre cave.

Friday morning I found myself on a panel interviewing candidates for a very important job, a panel that Dan was supposed to sit on as well. There was his name, still written on the table tent. I was looking so forward to seeing him, but I’m sure we would have done something to embarrass each other.

Folks were discovering that the two of us were probably not meant to share a room of serious business.

We discussed creating a weekly “update” for the Murphy Theatre, where Dan would interview me and we would just kibitz for about 10 minutes or so, unscripted, about what was coming up, then shoot it out over the various social media platforms.

We kept cracking each other up during our pilot effort. I can’t even remember what we called it.

Dan bought tickets to nearly everything at the Murphy Theatre, even if he and Julie couldn’t make it to the show. Some say he’s the spitting image of Charlie Murphy as is evidenced in this past year’s HoliDazzle Parade.

Yes, Dan stood proudly on our Murphy Theatre float doing his best Charlie impression, waving and tossing candy at people, which was odd since we didn’t give Dan any candy to toss at people.

He was one of the first good friends I made when I landed here from Maine. Dan’s warmth and welcoming ways helped make my transition back to Ohio more comfortable and convincing that I was doing the right thing.

But as time went on I was learning I wasn’t really all that special — Dan was the special one. A lot of people felt Dan was their good friend; he had that knack.

And when Dan would start telling one of his stories … oh boy … settle in, my friend. I would sometimes interrupt early on and ask if I was going to need a pillow for this one, in case there might be time for a nap, to which he always responded with his standard two-word answer to me.

Dan held a lot of stress inside, this I know, as did those who knew him best. Yet he always had time for silliness, at least for me. I guess that’s why I gravitated to him so quickly.

Tonight I checked my last text from Dan. It was simply and ironically enough, the heart emoji.

We’re holding a celebration of life for our good buddy and Murphy Theatre board member on Wednesday, June 22 starting at 6 p.m. with a happy hour in Charlie’s, then moving into the theatre at 7 p.m. All are invited.

Bob Baylor, our celebrity mixologist to the stars, will concoct a special drink named in Dan’s honor, and all profits and tips from happy hour will be donated to the American Heart Association (AHA). Go figure.

God Bless you, Dan Evers, a good friend to so many.

Steve Burnette is Executive Director of the Murphy Theatre.


The Murphy Theatre honors board member Dan Evers on the marquee.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/06/web1_murphy-marquee-2.jpgThe Murphy Theatre honors board member Dan Evers on the marquee. The Murphy Theatre

Steve Burnette

Contributing columnist

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