Sarah Lou was born in Kingsport, Tennessee, and raised on West Wanola Street among a wonderful group of family and friends. She attended Jackson Elementary, John Sevier Junior High and graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School, Class of 1961. Sarah Lou was a proud member of the Dobyns-Bennett Marching Band and an active member of the Protozoa Fan Club. She was also very proud of her participation in the Girl Scouts. After high school, she attended East Tennessee University and received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education. Following her graduation, Sarah Lou entered public education, starting a lifelong career teaching elementary school in Sullivan County and Hawkins County, Tennessee, with teaching stops early in her career in Key West, Florida, and Bluefield, West Virginia. As with many of her O’Dell / Morton relatives, teaching was her lifetime commitment.
Sarah Lou married Joel Patrick Evans in 1978 at the Blountville Presbyterian Church. They moved to Rogersville, Tennessee in 1983, and Sarah Lou left the Sullivan County School System and began anew in Hawkins County. While maintaining a committed teaching career, Sarah Lou functioned as a farm wife for her husband Joe with all the responsibilities that entailed while raising two children, Mary Ellen and Will. She was also a Superintendent of Sunday School and an Elder in the Rogersville Presbyterian Church for several decades. Her last few years of teaching were at Surgoinsville Elementary School. When she retired from teaching, she did not retire from life. She still found time to work at H.B. Stamps Memorial Library, where she continued her commitment to educating young people and remained active in the Rogersville Presbyterian Church, most recently as Women’s Moderator and volunteer in youth activities such as LOGOS and VBS. Her greatest joy in retirement were her two grandchildren, Hank and Clara.
Sarah Lou was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph O’Dell and Louise Herron O’Dell. She is survived by her husband, Joel Evans; her son, Will Evans of Cartersville, Georgia; her daughter, Mary Ellen Elkins and her husband Matthew Elkins of Rogersville, Tennessee; and her beloved grandchildren, Hank Elkins, age six, and Clara Lou Elkins, age three. Sarah Lou’s sister, Mary O’Dell Arnold and husband Richard Alan Arnold; niece, Chauncey O’Dell Arnold of West Hollywood California; and nephew, Joseph Paul Arnold of Irvine, California. In addition to her immediate family and consistent with Sarah Lou’s loving nature, she was particularly fond of her surviving first cousins, Robert “Bob” O’Dell, Sue O’Dell, Patricia Herron Udwary, Robert Timothy Herron; in-laws, Steve and Ellie Evans, Ellen Sutton, Charlie Evans and special lifelong friend, Ann Johnson Reuschel.
The family will receive friends on Friday, September 15th, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, at the Rogersville Presbyterian Church. Funeral services to be conducted immediately thereafter. Burial will follow the funeral service in McKinney Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the H.B. Stamps Memorial Library. Christian-Sells Funeral Home, Rogersville, is serving the family of Sarah Lou Evans. Online condolences may be made at www.christiansells.com .