John Evans (‘39) and Ann (Buckwalter ‘42) Evans were a pair of Millersville University sweethearts who met while they were both students earning degrees in education on campus in the early 40s. The coupler went on to have long careers in education. “Aunt Ann actually started out teaching in an Amish one-room schoolhouse,” said Maureen Fitzgerald, Ann’s great niece. “They both also taught in Landisville for 15 years and then in Hempfield for more than 30 years and went on to earn advanced degrees in education from University of Pennsylvania and Duke University.” While the couple never had children, Fitzgerald says, “Their students were always like their children.”
Fitzgerald says she was extremely fond of her beloved great aunt and uncle. “They were lovely people, engaged, thoughtful, a sense of humor like you wouldn’t believe,” she says.
Sadly, Ann passed away in February of 2020 just after her 100th birthday – “We had a fabulous celebration at her home in January,” says Fitzgerald– and her late husband John passed away in 1999. So when the family began putting their affairs in order and settled the estate with realtor Pam Young, they made an incredible discovery: Ann had always been a clotheshorse, but they discovered closets full of immaculately kept clothing from across the decades – including an impressive collection of elaborate hats, in hat boxes, in near mint condition that took up an entire room. “One of the services she [Pamela] offers for clients is to try and source stuff off,” explains Fitzgerald. “When she saw the hats, she thought of Millersville University’s costume shop right away.”
Young contacted Millersville University’s costume shop manager, Priscilla Kaufhold, who was delighted to add the clothes into the shop’s impressive offerings. The team had to make three trips to pick everything up. “There were boxes of shoes to match every hat,” says Fitzgerald , chuckling.
“We greatly appreciate this donation, which has expanded our collection of Austrian suits and hats,” says Kaufhold of the collection. “These may find their way in any number of shows, such as “The Sound of Music,” “Around the World in 80 Days” or even on Professor Higgins in the coming years. We are grateful for Ann’s generosity, who saw the value of offering these garments to the Millersville Costume Shop and giving them a second life on the stage!”