Wilbert Bevans, 74, postal worker, Govans activist

November 09, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Wilbert Bevans wasn't flashy or loud or a rabble-rouser. He didn't lead community marches or petition drives. But he was considered a rock in Northeast Baltimore, someone who knew how to get things done for his neighborhood and someone who could be counted on to support area activities.

Mr. Bevans, 74, who died Tuesday of lung failure at Union Memorial Hospital, lived in Govans for more than 40 years and volunteered for programs such as the old Govans Neighborhood Housing Services for nearly the entire time.

He was a board member of Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore and in the late 1980s helped establish and was the first treasurer of GEMS -- a community-based organization that tries to maintain or improve the community by working with city officials.

"It took a lot of his time," said his wife, the former Alice Beatrice Brown, whom he married in 1946. "He couldn't have been more dedicated if he was getting paid to do it. He worked hard and liked it. He treated it just like an everyday job."

He and other GEMS volunteers sought to improve Govans by working with city officials and businesses. Colleagues said Mr. Bevans was concerned that problems within the community be corrected fairly.

"He was always trying to look and do things to benefit his neighborhood," said Michael Braswell, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore. "He fully understood how the partnership of residents and businesses needed to work together."

Ralph Johnson, director of GEMS, called Mr. Bevans a quiet but "tough man" in his duties as the organization's treasurer.

"He watched the pennies. He didn't let anything happen to the money," Mr. Johnson said.

A West Baltimore native, Mr. Bevans graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1942 and served in the Army Air Force during World War II from 1944 to 1946.

Upon his discharge, he worked at the old Western Maryland Dairy in Baltimore until he joined what is now the Postal Service in 1948. He was a postal supervisor and manager until he retired in 1978.

Failing health forced him to give up his volunteer activities about four years ago.

He was a lifelong member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow at Northwood Appold United Methodist Church, Loch Raven Boulevard and Cold Spring Lane.

In addition to his wife, he is survived a son, Gary Bevans-Bey of Baltimore; three brothers, Bernard Bevans and William A. Bevans Jr., both of Baltimore, and Clyde Bevans of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; a sister, Ruth Jackson of Baltimore; three granddaughters; and a great-granddaughter.

Pub Date: 11/09/97

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