Geraldine Ann Evans, Ph.D., of Peoria, Ariz., formerly of Minnetonka, passed away peacefully on Feb. 21, 2019, following a short fight with cancer.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Wallace Whipple and Elda Whipple (Tiedemann); and two sisters, Ellen Mohler and Lillian Vangness. She is survived by her husband, John L. Evans, after 55 years of blessed marriage; and by her sister, Lois Whipple. She is also survived by her son, John D. Evans, of Arlington, Va.; daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Gearin; and their children, Oliva and John “Jack.”. She is also survived by her son, Paul W. Evans of Osterville, Mass.; daughter-in-law, Megan C. Tyrrell; and their children, Auden and Lochlan.

Jerri, as she liked to be called, grew up in Rochester and attended Rochester Community College as a student, later returning to the college as its President. She earned a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota. After several years as a teacher and counselor, she joined the Minnesota Community College System as Director of Personnel, later becoming the President of Rochester Community College for 10 years. She then returned to St. Paul as Chancellor of the Minnesota Community College System, where she facilitated the merger of the State University and Community College Systems. She then went on to serve as State Executive Director of the Illinois Community College System, and then Chancellor of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District in California. She retired in 2004, spending winters in Arizona and summers in Minnetonka until 2014, thereafter spending summers in Hyannis, Mass.

She served on numerous boards of directors, including the Wayzata Minnesota School District, Mizpah United Church of Christ (moderator), the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges, the Council of North Central Community and Junior Colleges (secretary-treasurer), the Minnesota Technology Center, the Marquette Bank Board, Governors’ Job Training Council of Minnesota, the National League of Nursing, and the board of trustees of Golden Gate University, Calif.

During her career, she received many honors and awards, including Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota for being a pioneering leader in higher education.

Her joy in life was her family, friends and home. She enjoyed entertaining, and she and John traveled extensively in retirement. She will be remembered for the influence she has on the lives she touched, both professionally and personally.

Her interment was April 16, at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. A memorial for her life will be held later this month in Minnetonka. Remembrances may be sent to For those who wish, memorials may be sent to the Geraldine A. and John L. Evans Scholarship at the University of Minnesota, to which she was very attached ( The scholarship supports community college graduates pursuing degrees at the College of Education and Human Development.