The Rev. Leslie E. Evans, nurse and Episcopal priest

The Rev. Leslie E. Evans, 64, of Bristol Township, a nurse, Episcopal priest, and college and prison chaplain, died of encephalopathy on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol Township.

The Rev. Evans was rector at Grace Church and the Incarnation in Port Richmond from 1994 to 2003 and rector at St. Andrew's Church in Allentown from 2003 until she retired in 2007.

Leslie E. Evans

Over the years, her husband, VanKirk Wilson, said, she also served as an associate chaplain in the St. Dismas Episcopal ministry at Graterford prison in Montgomery County.

Born in Bethlehem, she attended Shimer College in Mount Carroll, Ill., from 1964 to 1966, and graduated from the Temple University Department of Nursing in 1971.

A daughter, Caitlin Stevens, said that in the 1970s, the Rev. Evans worked as a pediatric nurse at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and "as head nurse of the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children."

Even before entering the seminary, she showed interest in church work as a lay assistant at St. David's Church in Manayunk from 1974 to 1980.

She earned a master's of divinity in 1982 at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, became an Episcopal deacon that year, and was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1983.

Before moving to Iowa, the Rev. Evans was an associate rector at St. Christopher's Church in Gladwyne in 1983 and 1984 and rector at St. James-St. George Church in Jermyn, Lackawanna County, from 1984 to 1988.

While chaplain at the University of Northern Iowa from 1988 to 1991, the Rev. Evans was rector at St. Luke's Church in Cedar Falls.

She was interim pastor at Trinity Episcopal Church in Waterloo in 1992 and 1993 before returning to Pennsylvania.

In retirement, she was an associate for pastoral care at All Saints Church in Torresdale.

Besides her husband and daughter, she is survived by another daughter, Meredith Mayes; a brother; a sister; and three grandchildren. She is also survived by former husband Bruce Evans.

The funeral was set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at All Saints Church, 9601 Frankford Ave., with burial in the church cemetery.

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or