Lane A. Evans

1951 - 2014

Marine Corps.
Vietnam War

Their Story

Lane A. Evans was born on August 4, 1951, in Rock Island, Illinois. He was the son of Lee and Jocelyn Evans.[1] In 1969, Evans graduated from Alleman Catholic High School.[2] Soon after he graduated high school, Evans enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve in the Vietnam War. He began basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. After completing this training, he was sent to Camp Pendleton in California, where he received individual combat training.[3]

Once he had finished his training, Evans was sent to Okinawa, Japan. Due to the Sullivan Act, Evans could not serve in Vietnam because his brother was already stationed there. He served in Japan for two years, earning a Meritorious Mast in early 1971, for his “outstanding service in the line of duty.”[4] Months later, Evans was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. After his discharge, Evans attended Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois. After receiving his associate degree, he attended Augustana College in Rock Island, and in 1977 he received a Juris Doctorate Degree from Georgetown University. Throughout the time he spent in school, Evans began his political career; he began by volunteering for presidential campaigns, and he later worked for Ted Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1980, as the field staff organizer. After receiving his law degree in 1977, Evans worked as a lawyer in Rock Island for a short time. In 1982, Evans won the 17th Congressional District seat for the state of Illinois.[5] He remained a congressman for twenty-four years, before he retired due to his declining health; he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1995. Throughout his career as a congressman, he was a major advocate for issues that affect veterans. Paul Rieckhoff, Chief Executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, stated, “he helped put our issues on the map,” referring to issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.[6]

He also fought for legislation that would assist veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Agent Orange was “a tactical herbicide the U.S. military used to clear leaves and vegetation for military operations mainly during the Vietnam War.” Numerous veterans who were exposed to the chemical have developed severe health conditions.[7] Evans fought successfully to pass legislation that would provide compensation to veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange.[8] In 2006, Evans announced that his current term in Congress would be his last due to his declining health.

In January of 2007, Evans officially left Congress.[9] On November 5, 2014, Evans passed away at Hope Creak Care Center, after a long fight with Parkinson’s disease.[10]


[1]Devin Hanson, Guts: The Lane Evans Story, (Washington D.C.: Strong Arm Press, 2019), 12.

[2]Hanson, Guts: The Lane Evans Story, 16.

[3]In Uniform,” The Dispatch, Moline, Illinois, 3 July 1969, p.26.

[4]In Service,” The Quad-City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 18 March 1971, p.7.

[5]Chris Bonjean, “The Bar News: Lane Evans 1951-2014,” Illinois State Bar Association, 24 November 2014.

[6]Associated Press, “Lane Evans dies at 63; Illinois lawmaker fought for veterans’ rights,” 10 November 2014.

[7]Agent Orange exposure and VA disability compensation,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 4 February 2022.

[8]TopVet: Lane Evans/Congressman,” Veterans Advantage, 1 August 2002.

[9]Associated Press, “Lane Evans, Veterans Advocate in Congress, Dies at 63.”

[10]Chris Bonjean, “The Bar News: Lane Evans 1951-2014.”