‘He was a very kind man, totally committed to mathematics’: Former WKU professor Evard remembered


Photo by Joshua Lindsey

Jean-Claude Evard, former WKU professor and Swiss native, passed away in December.

Genesis Malone, News Reporter

During his years at WKU, Jean-Claude Evard was described by others as a kind-hearted and private man. Evard, a Switzerland native who formally taught mathematics, died in December at age 79.

Many shared their experiences with Evard on a Facebook post following his passing with several comments expressing  admiration and kindness. 

A former mail carrier of Evard, Rusty Thomason, made the post after finding out about his passing. 

“In a day it got over 1000 shares, which tells me most of Bowling Green knew of him, but little knew anything about him,” Thomason said. 

Thomason said he had delivered mail to Evard a few times and the mail was backed up. The apartment staff informed Thomason of his passing. 

“His apartment had stacks and stacks of books, newspapers, etc. around four feet tall each,” Thomason said. “And a smell of an old library.” 

As a professor at WKU, colleagues and students alike said Evard was a very private man who did not talk much about his life, except when the topic was mathematical.

“I remember Jean Claude well during his time at WKU,” Claus Ernst, a former regent at WKU and mathematics professor, said. “He was a very kind man, totally committed to mathematics.”

“It seemed like he could go on for hours until we gently reminded him that time was up and he could continue next week,” Ernst said. “He gave several talks in our seminar that I remember fondly. He always worked himself into a quite excited frame of mind when he was talking about his research, forgetting about any time constraints.”

Evard was seen numerous times walking to and from the grocery store in freezing temperatures. Neighbors said he used to swim during the cold season and use homemade paddles on his hands as resistance. Evard would often be spotted jogging around Bowling Green in rain, sleet or shine dressed in gym shorts. 

“I admired him,” a Facebook user shared. “[I] would see him often and so admired his tenacity.”

Evard did not have any family in the U.S. According to Ernst, he was buried in Geneva, Switzerland, where his sister lives. 

News Reporter Genesis Malone can be reached at [email protected]