First Lady Nancy Bell Evans remembered for her legacy of service


The Governor’s Mansion Foundation (GMF) announced the passing of its founder and former Washington State first lady, Nancy Bell Evans, on Friday, January 26. She was 90.

She is survived by her husband, former Governor and Senator Daniel J. Evans, their children, and grandchildren.

Born Nancy Ann Bell in Spokane on March 21, 1933, she leaves behind a legacy deeply intertwined with Washington State's history and public service.

“Her vision and passion for preserving the state’s historic Governor's Mansion will always be a source of inspiration as we endeavor to continue the work she began over fifty years ago,” Lorraine Hamilton, president of GM, said in a press release.

Hamilton highlighted Evans' significant contributions to public service during and after her husband's three terms as governor, spanning from 1965 to 1977.

Evans' dedication to public service extended beyond her role as First Lady.

Nancy played pivotal roles in various organizations, including being the founder and chair of the Friends of Cancer Lifeline, national chair of the First Ladies’ Mental Health Month, founding trustee of Planned Parenthood of Olympia, and most notably, as the founder of GMF in 1974.

Evans wrote a biography and oral history titled “Nancy Evans First-rate First Lady.” Evans is also featured in the biography “She Found Her Voice: The Life of Nancy Evans Roles, Artist and Advocate” by McKinnon, Barbara.

Throughout her life, Evans remained committed to preserving the historic significance of the Governor's Mansion.

Visitors to the Mansion will learn of her remarkable efforts in transforming the building from being slated for demolition to the esteemed historic landmark it is today.

Those interested in touring the Mansion can make reservations in advance by completing an online mansion tour request form.

With each tour accommodating up to 25 guests, spots fill up quickly, offering a unique opportunity to delve into the rich history Evans helped to shape.