Cover photo for Lawrence Evans Crary, Jr.'s Obituary
Lawrence Evans Crary, Jr. Profile Photo

Lawrence Evans Crary, Jr.

February 11, 1930 — January 18, 2024

Stuart

Lawrence Evans Crary, Jr.

Evans Crary, Jr., one of Martin County’s most prominent, civic-minded native-born sons, passed away on January 18, 2024. He was 93.

Evans, Jr. was of the generation of Martin County’s firstborn, coming into the world in Stuart, Florida on February 11, 1930, less than five years after the county was formed. Like his parents Lawrence Evans Crary, Sr. and Talley McKewn Crary, he was destined to help forge his young community’s future. Charismatic in every sense of the word, Evans, Jr. was a natural-born leader and tireless public speaker, whose presence and influence always made a difference.  He was a devoted follower of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In school Evans excelled. He was Class Salutatorian in 1947 when he graduated from high school at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, which was Florida’s premier military school at the time. He joined the Air Force ROTC at the University of Florida (UF) where he rose to the rank of colonel of cadets. An active member of Blue Key and member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, he graduated with a BSBA degree in 1951. That same year he married UF’s beautiful campus queen Marilyn Ann Overby of Gainesville, Florida. He entered law school, where he became a member of the Honor Court and president of the John Marshall Bar Association. By the next year, 1952, he earned his juris doctorate from UF, graduating “with High Honors.”

Upon graduation from law school, Evans joined the Air Force, serving two years as a JAG officer with Air Force Training Command in San Antonio, Texas. After his tour of active duty, he continued to serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a captain.

In 1954 he joined his father’s law practice in Stuart, just as Evans, Sr. was retiring from a stellar 18-year career in the Florida legislature. The young lawyer’s leadership qualities quickly became obvious not only locally, but statewide. Community service as chairman of the Stuart Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1956 helped him garner recognition as one of Florida’s Five Outstanding Young Men at a ceremony in Tallahassee in 1958. That same year he became President of the Stuart Chamber of Commerce, and soon thereafter Governor Leroy Collins appointed him to serve as the County Judge of Martin County. Evans was only 28 at the time. He served as judge until 1964.

There would be many other leadership positions Evans would assume over the years. He served as chairman or president of organizations of importance to his growing community, including Martin Memorial Hospital, Martin County Bar Association, and Stuart Rotary Club. He also served as a member of boards of directors for numerous entities including First National Bank and Trust Co. of the Treasure Coast, later Seacoast Banking Corporation, 1960-2006; Martin Memorial Hospital, 1958-1976 (Chairman in 1964); Nina Haven Charitable Foundation, 1960-1997; Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, 1976-1982; and Martin County Community Foundation, 2002-2005. He was a Co-Trustee of the Frances Langford Foundation from 2005-2017.

Evans also rose quickly through the ranks of Freemasonry beginning at Acacia Lodge 163 in Stuart (Master in 1959), becoming a Thirty-third Degree Mason, AASC of Free Masonry in 1971 and the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge F & AM of Florida (1972-1973). In his capacity as Grand Master, he was the presiding officer who laid the cornerstones of both the House and Senate Buildings when they were added to the Capitol complex in Tallahassee in 1973.  He was the Potentate of Amara Shrine Temple in 1976.

Evans was a member of First United Methodist Church of Stuart for over 80 years. As a “born-again, Bible-believing, spirit-filled” Christian, he devoted a great deal of his life to evangelizing around the state. Many who studied the Bible with him will remember that he led King’s Kids Sunday School at First United Methodist Church from 1975 to 1997. He was also a founder of the Stuart chapter of Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship, and he served as a national director of that organization’s international fellowship, which offered an outreach to 85 countries.  Most recently, he was a member of Salerno Southern Methodist Church.

 All the while, as one of Florida’s most prominent lawyers, Evans was building a successful legal practice. He retired as Senior Partner of the Crary-Buchanan law firm in 1993, while remaining “of counsel.”

 His was a lifetime of high achievement, but he did find time to play. Evans loved being on the water. He took his beloved Morgan Out Island 41 sailboat “Contagious” on many voyages in the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. He also loved being up in the air. He was an instrument-rated Private Pilot. Maybe most of all as he reached into his 90s, he was an avid golfer, playing every day that he possibly could at the Yacht & Country Club of Stuart, which he helped found in 1968.

 Evans Crary, Jr. was predeceased by his wife of 44 years Marilyn Overby Crary in 1995 and his second wife of 18 years Sara R. Timon Crary in 2014. He is survived by his wife of 9 years Margaret Whitney-Smith; three children: Lawrence Evans Crary, III (wife Judi); Robert Michael Crary (wife Ann); and Millicent Ann Jowers (husband Jeff); five grandchildren: Amy Crary (husband Marcelo); Evans Crary IV (wife Heather); John McKewn; Sean Crary; and Hannah Crary; and eight great-grandchildren: Gisele Crary, Ben Lindstrom; Emily Lindstrom; Evans Crary V; Talley Crary; Lily Ann McKewn; Luciana Guimaraes; and Liam McKewn.

A public visitation will be held at Martin Funeral Home, 961 S. Kanner Highway in Stuart from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, January 22nd.  There will be a private family funeral and interment. 

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a local charity in his name.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Lawrence Evans Crary, Jr., please visit our flower store.

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