Saturday, June 30, 2007

Antioch woman killed by bear

Educator mauled while hiking in Romania

Posted Friday, June 29, 2007

A 30-year-old Antioch woman was mauled to death by a bear Saturday in Romania where she was working to educate people on preventing HIV and family violence.

Kathryn Irene Evans was killed while hiking with five others, including her husband, John Evans, on a remote trail in the Carpathian Mountains.

According to reports, the bear killed Evans after injuring Sara McKelvey, 26, of Frederick, Md., and a man, despite efforts by others in the group who threw stones at the bear.

The bear had earlier bitten a Romanian tourist on the shoulder and attacked sheep, one of the members of the rescue team told news television Realitatea TV.

Authorities are searching for the bear to euthanize it.

Evans was project manager for the International Orthodox Christian Charities USAID-funded project, “Strengthening Community-Based Initiatives on HIV/AIDS and Family Violence in Romania,” from April 2006 until her death.

Matt Parry, USAID director of operations, described Evans as a hard worker who understood how to easily relate to people from different cultures.

Parry said Evans was hired after an internship with the organization and became her peers’ supervisor.

“What could have been an awkward transition was seamless, which says a lot about how Katie did her job,” Parry said. “She did not preach to people or speak to them in a condescending way. She just understood and listened.”

Evans attended Grass Lake and Emmons elementary schools, and graduated Antioch Community High School in 1994.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., in 1998 and a master's degree in public health from Florida International University in North Miami, Fla., in 2006, Evans spent her career serving others.

She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh from 2000 to 2002, where she met John Evans. They were married in 2004.

Other survivors include her mother and stepfather Judy and John Shaffer, of Lake Villa; father and stepmother Gregory and Beth LaPlante, of St. Anne.; brother Edward LaPlante of Carmel, Ind.; and sister Michelle Yearout of Kenosha, Wis.

Visitation is 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Strang Funeral Home, 1055 Main St., Antioch. Funerals services are 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Peter Church, 557 Lake St., Antioch.

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