Evans, Lewis and Betty (Morewood)
Robert Lewis Evans & Elizabeth (Betty) Anne Morewood
1911 - 1977 1922 - 1993
God gave all men all earth to love,
But, since our hearts are small,
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Beloved over all.
On May 7th, 1911, Emily Elizabeth (Bethune) Evans, at age 46, gave birth to her first and only child, Robert Lewis Evans. Her husband, the Reverend Dean Thomas Frye Lewis Evans, was 67 and the father of five adult children and already a grandfather. So baby Lewis entered this world with a readymade niece and nephew, and only nine years to get to know his father.
On October 19th, 1922, Caroline Annie (Rhodes) Morewood, at age 42, gave birth to her second child, Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Morewood. Her husband was her first cousin, Francis Edmund Morewood, who was 5 years her junior. Twenty months earlier, Carrie and Frank had produced a son, William Harold Morewood.
On August 5th, 1944, at the Coupe in Tadoussac, 33-year-old Lewis asked 21-one-year-old Betty to marry him. She said yes, and their lives came together on December 27th of that year. Until the Dean died in 1920, the Evans family had spent their winters in Montreal and every summer in their house in Tadoussac, which at that time was the farthest east Price brothers house, later sold to the Beatties. After his death, however, mother and son moved to Toronto for the winter, but still got to Tadoussac each year.
Emily must have been concerned that her son should have male role models in his life, so she had him attend Trinity College School – a boys boarding school in Port Hope, ON. Lewis liked the school and had positive memories of it. This is remarkable because on a personal level, these were difficult years. At the age of 14, he was hit by a severe case of alopecia, an autoimmune disorder whereby one’s hair falls out, and over the next year or so, he lost all his hair. When asked how Lewis handled this in an often unsympathetic boarding school environment, one of his classmates said that such was his quick wit that any boy who set out to tease him was swiftly put in his place.
Between graduating from TCS and starting at Trinity College in Toronto, Lewis was taken on a European tour by his mother. They travelled extensively and visited many specialists in an effort to reverse the effects of alopecia. The tour was wonderful, the hair did not come back, and perhaps worst of all, they missed their summer in Tadoussac. This was the only summer Lewis missed in his 77 years.
It was after this tour that Lewis chose to wear a wig, a decision he frequently regretted especially in the heat of the summer.
Meanwhile, Betty, one of Col. William Rhodes’s many great-grandchildren, was growing up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She attended the Baldwin School for girls and subsequently Bryn Mawr and University of Pennsylvania. Her family would spend time in Tadoussac most summers, renting rooms in Catelier House (now the Maison du Tourisme) but then, in 1936, her father designed and built a house, now called Windward. From then on, she never missed a summer visit.
In 1948, Frank Morewood sold Windward to Betty and Lewis for $1, and suddenly, Lewis, whose mother had died the year before, found himself with two cottages in Tadoussac. He chose to keep Windward, partly because it was newer, partly because it was politic, partly because of its view, but especially because he could see his boat at its buoy in the bay!
At university, Lewis had studied English, graduating in 1933, and Betty had majored in business, graduating in 1944. Lewis followed through on his plan to be a teacher, receiving offers from a school in Bermuda and one in Lennoxville. Because Lennoxville was closer to Tadoussac, he started his career in 1934 at Bishop’s College School from which he retired in 1972. He did take a year away to get his teaching credential at University of London where he was delighted to have a front-row seat for the abdication of King Edward VIII and was on the very crowded street watching the parade leading to the coronation of George VI.
Any career plans Betty had upon graduation were trumped by her summer engagement and winter wedding... and in the fullness of time, by the arrival of Anne, Lewis, Tom and Alan. She was of the generation when women were mothers and homemakers, and to these functions, Betty added the role of steadfast supporter of all that her husband did, and BCS benefitted from her unpaid and often unknown contribution. For the first 18 years of their marriage, Lewis was a Housemaster. Betty knew all the boys and welcomed them into her home as a matter of course. Every teacher new to BCS was invited to Sunday dinner, and she frequently found herself hosting parties for faculty and friends. She has been called a world-class knitter and a world-class worrier (especially about her children no matter how old they were).
Meanwhile, Lewis, who had moved to the Upper School after five years teaching in the Prep, was completely immersed in the life of the school – teaching, coaching, directing plays and running his residences. He was one of the pioneers of ski racing in the Eastern Townships, and spent many hours freezing at the bottom of a hill, clipboard in one hand and stop watch in the other. He was an example of service and character. When he died, one Old Boy remembered him as “an oasis of calm in an otherwise harsh and demanding school.” Indeed, he was.
But his contributions went beyond BCS. From the mid-50s until his retirement in 1972, he spearheaded the Lennoxville Players, directing many plays from British farces to Broadway musicals. This was a group of amateur “actors” from all levels of the community who were, like their leader, looking for an enjoyable night out... and all proceeds to go to a local charity.
In 1972, Betty and Lewis retired to Brockville, Ontario. Here, they joined Tadoussac friends, Rae and Coosie Price and Jean and Guy Smith who had already retired to this comfortable town on the eastern end of the Thousand Islands. From there, they travelled to Tadoussac – for many years by boat, almost 700 kilometers down the St. Lawrence in their cabin cruiser, Anne of/de Tadoussac.
For all their lives, home was where the family was, but Tadoussac was where the family was at home. The village, the river, the tides, the mountains, the beaches, the people, all had a strong hold on their hearts. In late spring, the family would leave Lennoxville before dawn on the first morning after the last teachers’ meeting, and at the end of the summer, they would return the day before the first meeting for the coming school year. After retirement, the summer would extend from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving.
An accomplished sailor and boatman, Lewis knew every cove and anchorage on the Saguenay, learned from his own experience, but even more, from local captains whom he respected and adored, and, it would seem, they held him in equal esteem. Over the years, his passion for boats gave way to his passion for fishing. There were many overnight trips up the Saguenay, often to the Marguerite, to fish the falling tide, then the rising, then up early to start again. One can still see him standing in hip-waders off the point above the crib, rod in hand, pipe upside down against the drizzle, as dawn was lighting the sky.
Betty and Lewis were practicing Christians, and while their church in Lennoxville tended to be the BCS Chapel, the one that they were most committed to was the Tadoussac Protestant Chapel. Betty’s great-grandfather had been instrumental in its creation, and Lewis’s father, the Dean, had, for decades, been the summer priest. In 1974 Betty, undertook to organise several summer residents to needlepoint the altar kneeler cushions with images of local wild flowers, and for many years, Lewis served as the secretary on the church committee executive.
They were also strong supporters of the Tadoussac Tennis Club. Though Lewis played more than Betty, each made a memorable comment about the game. In his later years, Lewis would stand on the court, ready to deliver a flat baseline forehand or backhand (being equally good at both) and declare, “I’ll do anything within reason, but I will not run!” Betty’s line was less attitudinal, but gives an insight to why she did not play as much: “I find every shot easy to get back except the last one!”
And then there was golf, which Betty loved and Lewis tolerated, and Bridge, which… Betty loved and Lewis tolerated.
Their love for Tadoussac is best articulated in Lewis’s book, Tides of Tadoussac, and his fascination with the history of the place in his fictional Privateers and Traders.
Betty and Lewis were amused at the double numbers that marked their lives: Lewis born in ‘11, Betty in ‘22, Lewis graduates in ‘33, Betty in ‘44, marriage in ‘44... so it was not a surprise that in 1988, Lewis died at age 77. Betty survived him just 4 ½ years.
Theirs was a great love, a love of each other, a love of family and friends, a love of people and community, and a love of place, and that love of place, of that place, of Tadoussac, has been inherited by each of their four children and by each of their families.