Philip Evans, journalist who helped launch Washington Times, dies at 77

The Washington Post/May 12, 2011

Philip Evans, a journalist who served as managing editor of the Washington Star during the 1970s and later helped launch the Washington Times, died May 8 of cancer at his home in Silver Spring. He was 77.

Mr. Evans began a journalism career after working as an oilfield roughneck in Morocco and an Army paratrooper. He wrote for the Associated Press and then became a top editor at the Baltimore Evening Sun, Annapolis Capital and Philadelphia Bulletin.

When he arrived at the Star in 1975, the afternoon newspaper was in financial trouble, but it had just been bought by Texas millionaire Joe L. Allbritton. Star staffers hoped the purchase would save the newspaper.

In 1978, Allbritton sold the Star to Time Inc. Mr. Evans left the following year, and the paper ceased publishing in 1981.

Mr. Evans was a founding assistant managing editor of the Washington Times, which was started in 1982 by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon. Mr. Evans helped start Insight, a weekly magazine owned by the Times’ parent company.

In the mid-1980s, he bought the Annapolitan Magazine, which he ran until 1993. More recently, Mr. Evans had served as communications director and consultant to Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national anticrime organization headquartered in Washington.

Philip Morgan Evans was born Nov. 21, 1933, in New York, where his father worked in finance and his mother was an opera singer. When he was a boy, he and his family moved to Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where his parents wanted to work as truck farmers.

Mr. Evans spent a semester Yale University before money problems forced him to leave school. He then traveled around the country, reading the books he figured he would have been assigned at Yale.

His marriages to Shirley Ward and Carol Ness ended in divorce. In 2001, he married Dini Stewart.

Besides his wife, of Silver Spring, survivors include a daughter from his first marriage, Leslie Evans of Ocean Pines, Md., and a grandson.

In 1980, Mr. Evans briefly entered the political sphere as a press secretary for Barry Commoner, a biologist who founded a liberal, pro-environment third party and ran for president on its ticket. He served as campaign manager for Maryland Democrat Ralph Neas’s 1998 campaign for Congress.

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