MIDDLEBURY — Evan Jones was a kind, caring young man who gave freely of his time to help others, family and friends said.
Jones, 20, died on Sunday, Sept. 22, from injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident.
According to a report from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, Jones lost control of his motorcycle while driving on C.R. 8 west of C.R. 35 around 12:30 p.m. Sunday and struck a tree near the side of the road.
He was airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“He was an awesome individual,” said Scott Jones, Evan’s father.
“He loved the Lord with all his heart and he was the epitome of giving,” Scott Jones said. “He would give to anybody, just give his time, and that’s about the most precious thing we can give.”
Vance Stech, who had known Evan for about four years, said Evan tried to make sure everyone around him felt like they were valued.
“He would spend time with people that maybe weren’t as popular as him to make them feel important and included,” he said.
“I think his dad played a big role in shaping the man he was,” Stech said.
Jones said Evan’s Facebook page has been overflowing with stories about how Evan had impacted people’s lives.
“I just want to be half the man he was after hearing all the stories about him,” Jones said.
Evan’s cousin Steven Jones said he looked up to Evan like a big brother.
“To me he was always like a daredevil,” Steven said. “He was never scared of anything.”
Evan was a leader with a strong work ethic and an even stronger handshake.
“Even the people who don’t really know him that well should recall him by his friendly but incredibly strong Kung Fu-grip handshake,” Steven said.
Stech said he and Evan liked to work on their Jeeps together and take them to Michigan’s Silver Lake State Park to drive them on the sand dunes.
“He was always happy to see you no matter what and always had a new funny story to tell us,” Stech said. “He could give people a good laugh.”
Ben Miller, who co-owns Ben’s Soft Pretzels with Scott Jones and their business partner Brian Krider, said Evan was always up for a challenge.
“He always had a great personality and would always take a challenge,” Miller said. “On the other hand, he was very gentle and loved the Lord.”
Miller said Evan and Steven Jones, along with Evan’s parents, would come to his home for dinner and the boys, along with Miller’s children, would try to ride the cows and compete to see who could stay seated on the animal the longest.
“They were kind of the ringleaders because they were older,” Miller said of Evan and Steven. “They were always doing something a little crazy.”
Youthful craziness aside, Miller said Evan’s faith was his defining characteristic.
“I think the most important thing was that he tried to live the life of Christ,” Miller said. “He did make mistakes, but he tried really hard.”
Evan was a 2012 graduate of Northridge High School and was studying business management at IUSB. His father said Evan hoped to open his own Ben’s Soft Pretzel franchise.
A visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at New Life Christian Center, 15685 Indiana 120, Bristol, and one hour prior to the funeral service scheduled for 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at New Life Christian Center.
Attendees are encouraged to wear boots, jeans and cowboy hats in the spirit of Evan’s life and the service will be followed by a procession of Jeeps, motorcycles and other vehicles adorned with American flags.