Senator Robert G. "Greg" Evers, of Baker, passed away on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Evers served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2001 to 2010 and in the Florida Senate from 2010 to 2016. He was known for being an unwavering Second Amendment advocate, supporter of smaller government and a legislative champion for law enforcement, first responders and veterans. His distinguished legislative career was marked by his common sense and "get it done" approach.
His deepest wish was that his legacy at South Palafox Group continued. Greg joined South Palafox Group, in Pensacola, Florida as the company’s Chief of Political Affairs. He continued his love for criminal justice reform, prison and jail reform in Florida, and in reentry as he believed that the key to reducing recidivism was to provide job opportunities to ex-offenders and treat them with respect as a community member. Greg was responsible for the Group’s formation of South Palafox Re-Entry Initiative a joint venture with Re-Entry Alliance of Pensacola (“REAP”). This initiative is a public private partnership which will be building a state of the art work release center for 80 and transitional housing for 52 men and women. South Palafox will be naming this project and facility the “Robert Gregory Evers Re-Entry Center”. Also, while at South Palafox a community monument where Mother’s went to pray for their children during World War II and commonly referred to as the Bayview Cross was being threatened with removal. In the wake of this, Greg formed The Historical Preservation Society, Inc. to protect the Bayview Cross using a law that he had passed in the Senate only a year earlier. Forming a Board of community leaders, the work of the Historical Society continues to protect the sanctity of all monuments erected to the local and national history of our country and financially supported by SPG. His family, his children, and his colleagues are committed to making sure that, that wish comes true of continuing his legacy.
A fifth-generation Northwest Floridian, Greg's roots ran deep in north Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties. He was born in Milton on June 16, 1955, to high school sweethearts John Robert Evers and Rhanalda Jequita Holley Evers.
He grew up on the family farm in Munson. Greg graduated from Jay High School in 1973, where he lettered in multiple sports and served as a statewide Vice-President for the Future Farmers of America; he later attended Pensacola Junior College. He was a lifelong member of Beaver Creek Baptist Church and a long-time member of the Beaver Creek Masonic Lodge No. 230.
Evers' primary career was as a farmer, growing cotton, peanuts, soybeans and wheat. He also took over the Baker Farm Center upon his parents retirement and moved it to its current location. In 1991, Greg decided he wanted to learn to grow strawberries and Akers of Strawberries was born. He quickly nurtured his strawberry business from a shed to the largest u-pick strawberry patch north of Plant City. The flourishing of this enterprise became the highlight of his farming career; Greg absolutely loved watching families pick his berries and enjoy frozen yogurt and his "almost famous" strawberry shortcake.
Evers was known for his infectious smile, southern charm and perfect strawberries. His vast knowledge of agriculture combined with his steady demeanor and signature use of "sugar" as a greeting with his friends made him a magnetic force.
Evers loved his community and consistently found opportunities to contribute. He served as a member of the Milton Rotary Club, Crestview Lion's Club, Okaloosa County Farm Service Agency, President of the Okaloosa County Farm Bureau, and Chairman of the Yellow River Soil & Water Conservation District.
Evers is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Leonard and Clyde Peaden Evers; his maternal grandparents, William Thomas and Thelma Renfroe Holley; and his brother, Thomas Jeffrey Evers.
Evers is survived by his parents, John and Jequita Evers; wife, Lori Weems Evers; children, Stephanie (Anthony) Barlow, Jennifer (Kendal) Wallace, and Robert (Marley) Evers; grandchildren, Alli, Rex, and Reece; brother, Eric (Michelle) Evers; sister, Kay (Tom) Dawson; nephews, Kyle (Lindi) and Christopher; niece, Kaylee; and great-nephew, Grayson.
Visitation will be held 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., Monday, August 28, 2017, at First Baptist Church of Milton. Funeral Services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at First Baptist Church of Milton. Evers will be laid to rest at Beaver Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, with Lewis Funeral Home of Milton directing.