Friends and family, as well as current and former
classmates and teammates, shared warm and lasting
memories Tuesday of Brad Evans, a former Corona del Mar
High basketball player who died in an Oakland house fire
A charismatic bass player and bright psychology major
preparing to graduate from UC Berkeley in May, Evans, 23,
died before he could take the world by storm.
And that is just what he would have done, said Evans'
friends and family.
"He was one of the most self-sacrificing, altruistic
people I have ever known," said Ryan Rekers, 22, who
graduated from Corona del Mar High School with Evans in
1996. "He really lcared about people. He just had a lot
of fun. He lived for the moment and had a great
Evans was overcome by smoke when a friend's house
where he was sleeping caught fire about 7:15 a.m. Evans,
found in a guest bedroom, was the only one of six people
in the house who did not escape.
Brent Steele, 23, another Corona del Mar High alumnus,
was injured while fleeing the house and was in stable
condition Tuesday night at Highland Hospital in Oakland,
according to hospital officials, who declined to discuss
his injuries. Mike Bise, also a Corona del Mar High
alumnus, as well as three others, escaped the house
without major injury.
Evans, who worked as a waiter at Zachary's Pizza in
Berkeley, also played bass guitar in the rock band Fillup
Phil. His brother Matt Evans said he planned to tour the
Bay Area with his band after graduation and possibly
attend law school.
"He was an amazing person who brought joy into any
situation," said Matt Evans, who graduated from Corona
del Mar High in 1993.
"He was so intelligent. He worked at a pizza place
because he liked it, not because he wanted to make a lot
of money. He was driven by happiness. He backpacked all
over Europe with his friends, and he spent a semester
studying in Santiago, Chile. He packed more into 23 years
than most people experience in a lifetime."
Megan Arganbright, a manager at Zachary's, said Evans
was a beloved member of a close-knit restaurant
"He was just one of the most amazing men I've met,"
Arganbright said. "He was funny and always in a good
mood. He was one of the few people who never came to work
in a bad mood. We all spent a lot of time together, both
at work and outside work, and Brad was a friend to
everyone, including me. He was just a genuine
Others recalled the upbeat personality that
characterized Evans, who started as a senior guard for
the 1995-96 Sea Kings, helping them advance to the CIF
Southern Section Division III-A quarterfinals. He was
called up from the junior varsity squad for the the 1995
CIF varsity playoff run, which resulted in a Division
IV-AA championship. He was also co-editor of the student
newspaper at Corona del Mar High.
"We grew up playing basketball together," said Josh
Walz, one of Evans' teammates. "He was really nice, a great guy with a genuine personality. He was a
real comfortable person to be around."
Darren MacDonald, another teammate who recently
graduated from UC Berkeley, called Evans "a good buddy of
"He always had a smile on his face, and every time you
spoke with him, he had something special going on in his
life," MacDonald said. "And he was always so interested
in what was going on in your life. His interest in others
was always so sincere."
Matt Evans, speaking Tuesday from his parents' Balboa
Island home, said the family, including his father, Paul,
mother Scottia and older brother Morgan, have been moved
by calls and correspondence from well-wishers.
"It's a testament to Brad's character," Matt Evans
said. "My brothers have been my best friends, and I still
haven't begun to cope with the loss. My parents were
school teachers, so we had our breaks together and we
traveled a lot as a family. I still fully expect Brad to
walk in the door."
A memorial service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday
at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. In
lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions
be made to a scholarship fund being set up in Evans'
honor. Donations may be sent to The Brad Evans
Foundation, P.O. Box 456, Balboa Island, CA