Before They’re Gone Exhibit Captures Unsung Heroes of World War II
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
D. Clarke Evans, a photographer from San Antonio, Texas has spent the last two years not only capturing photos of World War II Veterans, but also their stories. Before They’re Gone: Portraits and Stories of WWII Veterans is a photo exhibit showing veterans in present day alongside a photo of them during WWII, along with their biography. The exhibit is on display in the George H.W. Bush Gallery of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, and is free to the public.
Mr. Evans started his creative path at age six when he started taking private lessons in drawing, oil painting and pastels. He continued those classes until the age of 17 when he joined the United Stated Marine Reserves where he served from 1964-1970. He received degrees in Business and Economics from Texas Tech. After working as VP of a bank in New Mexico and then as a museum director in Indiana Clarke wanted to get back into creative endeavors. He enrolled in the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 32. He graduated in 1985 and moved to San Antonio. In the early 1990’s he became the photographer for the San Antonio Spurs and at the same time President of the Texas Photographic Society.
D. Clarke Evans next to a photo of T. Fred Harvey who is an Iwo Jima survivor
While photographing Marines for a personal project a chance run in with Dick Cole, Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot during the Doolittle Raid set Clarke on the path to capturing members of the Greatest Generation. As of today he has captured over seventy-five WWII veterans and their stories. “This is the project of a lifetime. I just really love it. These old guys and gals are great. I thought photographing the Spurs was the top of the mountain, until I started photographing them.” D. Clarke Evans.
MSGT Gray Majirus admires his photo after donating some of his trench are to the museum.
Some of the more well-known veterans who are part of the exhibit are Richard Overton, who is said to be the oldest living WWII veteran; Dick Cole, Doolittle’s co-pilot, Air Commando, and Hump Pilot; and Hershel Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient of Iwo Jima. Mike Lebens, Head Curator for the museum said, “It is amazing how effective it is to see the before and after images of the veterans and read their stories at the same time. After viewing just a few of these pictures, the visitor really begins to appreciate the scope of this war and how it affected so many Americans at that time and for the rest of their lives. I think you really get a sense of appreciation for the service of our veterans through an exhibit like this.”
The exhibit is available during normal museum hours until January 14, 2018. The exhibit does not require a museum admission ticket.
The National Museum of the Pacific War is a Texas Historical Commission property supported, operated, and managed by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation