Evan Bingham Scofield
May 13, 1987 — July 6, 2013
After a two year battle with sarcoma, Evan Bingham Scofield, 26, left this world on Saturday morning 06 July 2013.
Born on 13 May 1987 in New York City, Evan was a student at West Village Nursery School and The Village Community School before moving to Katonah at age 6. He attended Katonah Elementary School, John Jay Middle School and graduated from John Jay High School in 2005. He received a B.A. from Hampshire College in 2009, studying Classics and Writing with an emphasis on Epic Literature. A peergroup leader in high school and RA throughout his college years, Evan was unwavering in his commitment to community. Following graduation, he was employed as a media librarian at The Mill, and then as a copywriter at McGarryBowen, both in New York City.
Evan was a deeply compassionate man, kind and fiercely loyal, yet stubborn and wholly uncompromising. He lived his life exactly as he chose to, exercising his strength and will to live fully until his very last breath. A storyteller, an adventurer, world traveler, goat fan, poet and pirate, musician, illustrator, sculptor, metalsmith, woodworker and environmentalist. In his brief life, he mastered languages, wrote scores of poems, performed his music, nearly completed a novel, traveled the globe, ran with the bulls in Pamploma, hiked the High Atlas mountains, filling 26 years with magic and joy. He had a fortunate life; he was loved and he loved many.
He is survived by his beautiful partner of seven years, Ursula Rose Strauss, parents John and Susan Scofield, sister Jean Scofield Maxwell, brother-in-law Alexander and nephew Felix, one grandmother, four uncles, five aunts, ten cousins, two small dogs, two box turtles and a rich array of true friends.
From Evan himself: “So many of you deserve so much greater thanks than I can ever give. You’ve been there for me in these grim hours, helping me to turn them from tragedies to tests; trials that offer lessons at their close. And I’m doing what I can to learn those lessons. I’m looking past the curtain in a way that no one does until they must, and it’s thanks to the strength you’ve all given me that I’m not blinded.”
A few quotes from the many hundreds of messages his family has received are the best window into the man now gone:
“RIP Evan — we’re one badass friend fewer today.”
“My captain, my king. The first idiom you taught me was to scream in moments of childish doubt, “This will work!” You taught me that the world was built on an infinitesimal series of alls and nothings. That a torrent of faith was a decent way to beautifully and viciously live. We saw ourselves as kings.”
“I imagine Evan walking along the Camino de Compostela, over mountains, across valleys, through forests and ancient villages. Each step he took left a mark, an imprint of his too brief but loved and loving life. We have been touched by his life, his courage, creativity and poetic nature.”
“Any words feel small compared to those so wise and brave as Evan’s but to the man who could find the best in anyone and the beauty in anything, and to the man who knew better than to take a single day for granted, even before waging this courageous battle, and to the man who was one half of one the greatest duos the world has ever seen – Thank You.”
“He became an exceptional man and everyone who knew him recognized it. The way he left this world was exceptional too. Nobody says “f*#k hospice” anymore. Dylan Thomas’s “rage rage against the dying of the light...” now it’s all about morphine and nurses. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a blessing, but glorious Evan met the brutality of this illness with the heart and roar of a lion. To love life that much ... it was and will continue to be an inspiration to me, a star to shoot for. He lived every moment of his life.”
“Evan was magic, brave and wide open as the sea. Anyone who had even one conversation with him knew as much. The way he saw the world allowed him to live so richly, even though his life wasn’t a long one, it was a glorious adventure that was an inspiration to everyone around him.”
“You will last in my memory. Your name will be accompanied by the belief that life is a thing worth living, if not simply because of the endless possibilities of things left unexplored and unconquered.The way you moved through this world is an unmistakable movement of someone who understood happiness. I think you knew- but if you didn’t know how loved you were- I hope some window is showing you the weight of our loss tangled up in the gratitude of knowing you.”
One of Evan’s final wishes was to have his ashes scattered in various far flung places by his closest friends. As most are twenty somethings with limited resources, his family created a fund in Evan’s name. In lieu of flowers, donations were made to “Evan’s Ashes” to support and document this project. It is Evan’s vision of an exit that celebrates the epic journey— one of adventure, discovery, and whimsy, the twist and the turn, the joyful embrace of the next step on an unfamiliar road.
Evan Scofield's senior class address at John Jay High School's 49th Commencement
Published in the Lewisboro Ledger, June 30th, 2005
I’ve seen the end of the teen movies where the graduating class meets, all dressed to conquer in matching robes and gowns, a glimmering assembly of excitement and disbelief. The movie concludes its story of zany adventures with a really poignant speech by one of the craziest guys in it, who comes around to tell everyone what he’s learned. There’s usually thought-provoking mood music too, so it all hits you at once when he goes soft and suddenly his words have more real meaning than the bulk of the movie. No more throwing pies or getting caught with your pants down. The jokes have ended. The climax of the flick has officially come and gone, and now, the moral takes center stage. I know that you know what I am talking about; those films broke box office records and surely most if not everyone here has seen one or two of them, either on an airplane or some ever-repeating “television premier.”
Well, here we are, that final scene, in a sense. This is it — the camera will pan across the crowd and show the main characters making sad but strong faces while the speech goes on. Maybe when the camera passes, one of this movie’s lovable tough-guys will be bawling and as red as a tomato to deliver a last minute chuckle to the audience. I will say something really deep about how connected we all are, and will always be, and the camera will cut to two best friends who had some terrible wedge drawn between them this year, and they will look over at each other and give a predictable hug and go on, without words, knowing all is forgiven. You knew it was coming the whole time; movie plots these days are more predictable than popcorn in a microwave.
But let’s backtrack. Let’s take a look at the body of our film, the parts before this gentle resolve. Yeah, that part. If you haven’t forgotten already... it was called high school.
The story was about a guy and a girl, a girl and a guy, a girl and girl, a guy and a guy and a few hallways. It was about key characters, please excuse the cliché, trying to figure out who they were. They looked in the art rooms for pieces of their own faces, trying to patch their identities together like quilts of personal progress. They opened their ears in the music wing, letting stray notes catch them off guard, teaching them unconscious lessons. They scanned the pages of graded tests for clues to their destined futures. They looked under every desk they ever sat at, wondering whose feet had rested against that same rug and how many seasons of rainwater had dried right there, dripping off shoes that had jumped into puddles as the years rolled on. They scanned the graffiti on those desktops and the bathroom walls and stall doors, watching the collage of names and drawings and personal slogans blend into one gigantic crosshatch shading, wondering if the secrets to the understanding, that they were only just beginning to nibble at, was written amongst the hurricane of sentences and replies.
The story was about trials. By that I mean “Trials and Tribulations,” trials. The questions that each of you woke up with one day during sophomore year and took deep breaths: “Inhale”...I don’t think that I can go another instant doing mathematics and reading assigned English until I figure this out, this... dessert to a dream that dropped in my lap and let me greet the morning with an air of disbelief and wonderment. We’ve all had a dozen of epiphanies here, and that is what an education is. We’ve learned the game of exploration, forging through jungles of interpreted texts and critical lens essays. We, the high school students of the early information age, have swallowed those trials.
Some of you guys got up one morning and looked in the mirror, thinking, “next year I want to play sports. I want to get huge and I want to dominate, veni vidi vici, proclaim myself the Alpha and the Omega.” Well some of you did it. Some of you muscled your way across safely padded battlegrounds and learned lessons of prowess that will last you longer than your bodies will. Some of you looked over pictures of your older siblings and thought, “I only hope to make my parents as proud” as you ate breakfast. The carbohydrates from that bowl of Cheerios were converted into brain cells that filled to the brim with college requirements and the adhesives of a well-rounded individual. You made it, a gem in the eyes of those who cut you from stone.
Whatever the specific words, epiphanies came in droves when you add all of ours together — ours was a story of realizations and disillusionment. Ours was a story of walking off to Dagʼs and fighting to keep our cars from being towed. Ours, our story, was one of school trips and throwing things at the ceiling in the cafeteria. We waded through the waters of the SATʼs and survived the wrath of each fast five and packet of take-home time bombs. Ours was a story of success.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have never been a member of the National Honor Society, but there are other societies in which I am honored to reside, and this is the case for every single sojourner of this titanic graduating class. We are about to collide, good Class of ʼ05, into a mountain of change and I think... no, I know... that we are ready, because I have seen this movie’s sequel. We all have. Right at the beginning of the summer, the movie theaters fill with the continuation of previous plots. We’ve seen the re-uniting of each lovable character from past adventures — they meet up with old friends to recount the tales of faraway planets, different colleges and cities of untold splendor. We’ve watched capers unfold in new settings and arenas of the “adult-world,” and though it might seem outrageously naive to say that everything always works out.
I mean, this is a movie, is it not? Someday soon this epic will boom in surround sound. Washing over the candy and soda-saturated moviegoers... or at least you, if not all of the modern world on the big screen, will remember the history of your time here. Whether you loved it or hated it, this story has been undoubtedly yours. You were in every single scene, and you are impossible to separate from the true meaning of it.
Our story was different for each of us... some of us drew war paint on the snarling faces of our first mates and went screaming into the moonlight for a dash of adrenaline... some placed firm hands on instruments and blew away the congregating negatives of reality, bit through the thick casings of every wrong in the world and let fly the magical intonations of music made for no reason whatsoever. Some of us studied hard for every waking hour and were lifted on shoulders by the fabulous numbers of a job well done. Some of us, we soldiers of the political spectrum, we saints of growing intellect, we simply slept... and gathered energy to live out the rest of our natural lives.
Our story was different for all of us, but the moral I was talking about before, the wonderful resolution that the movie’s chosen character articulates in that graduation scene: I think it was the same for everyone who took part in this production.
We are the new, the fresh, the eager, the strong and the brilliant. The world is a place of barriers and bombs, and the storm, it thunders out of control. But we are ready, and every day now we inch closer to grasping the lightning itself — to pulling the storm apart at its seams. We are exactly what the world needs now, and the task is one that we simply cannot fail.
Have a good summer, my friends.