A reception celebrating the life of longtime Rogers State University faculty member Evalon St. John is scheduled for Saturday afternoon on the Claremore campus.
Her family invites friends, colleagues, and past and current students to celebrate her life and share memories during a come-and-go reception to be held 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, in Conference Rooms B&C, upstairs in the Centennial Center. Per her wishes, no funeral service is scheduled.
Evalon St. John died Sept. 15 from a heart trauma. One of the university’s longest-serving faculty members, she was as an Instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at RSU and its predecessor schools. She started in 1983 at what was then known as Rogers State College and continued to serve with distinction throughout her career.
In addition to teaching, she worked in curriculum development and assessment. She screened more than 400 students for Irlen Syndrome, a form of dyslexia treatable with colored overlays. Evalon herself had Irlen Syndrome she treated by literally viewing the world through her own “rose-colored glasses.”
She and Steve St. John married on January 2, 1986, and the couple resided in Claremore throughout their marriage. Steve also has taught for three decades at RSU, most recently as an adjunct faculty for the past decade. When his wife became ill about a month into the fall semester, he took over teaching her online class.
Dr. Keith Martin, Dean of the School of Mathematics, Science and Health Sciences, said Evalon approached her students with tough love.
“She had a personal understanding of many of the barriers her students faced, and she had a high level of empathy for them,” Martin said. “But on the other hand, she had very high expectations for their performance and took no excuses about why they couldn’t achieve in her classroom. She was tough and she was direct. Most of her students responded well to that and, as a result, they succeeded in her classroom.”
Dr. Jamie Graham, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, called Evalon “the consummate educator.”
“She was always very dedicated to her students and was determined to help them get over their math phobia or whatever obstacles might be holding them back,” she said.
Evalon was especially invested in her students who had disabilities.
“Evalon worked tirelessly to help students gain confidence in mathematics,” Graham said. “She was focused on helping them overcome obstacles in their lives. This attitude helped empower her students to become successful and productive.”
RSU President Dr. Larry Rice praised Evalon St. John for her decades of service to the university and its students.
“Throughout her career, Evalon maintained a remarkable dedication to her students, which is emblematic of the high standards our faculty set for themselves and our students,” Rice said. “Evalon helped students earn successes in her classroom that could then carry over to other academic endeavors and in their everyday lives. She was a remarkable teacher, and she will be missed by everyone in the RSU family.”
Evalon is survived by her husband, Steve; daughters, Dia and Stevie; siblings and siblings-in-law, David Jacks and Kathleen Forrest, Lewis Jacks, Elizabeth (Libby) and John Simdorn, Carolee Biddy, and Todd and Michelle St. John; mother-in-law, Thelma St. John; and nieces, Melanie St. John and Velocity Chyaldd.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating to World Vision, through which Evalon sponsored a child, or the ASPCA.