March 23, 1943 ~ November 7, 2022

Born in: San Antonio, Texas
Resided in: Bryan, Texas

The love story between Dinah Marie Lee and Richard (Rich) Evans began in San Antonio, Texas, some 48 years ago. They were two young professionals sharing the same workplace (but different divisions) of United Services Automobile Association (USAA). A charming single man, Rich had been careful not to get caught up in long-term friendships, but one day in the employee cafeteria, he spotted a beautiful, stylish professional woman who exuded quiet confidence and represented a challenge to capture her notice.

Enlisting the help of a coworker from his department, he wrangled an introduction that seemed coincidental. It was anything but. At first she was reluctant to accept his request for a first date. After several failed attempts and with an assist from his coworker, Dinah agreed to a first date. Rich made it special. They went to Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX, on Nov. 7, 1974, and had a splendid time enjoying the music and dancing to German and Austrian music. From that point on, life became a series of laughter-inducing, music-filled joy and permanent memory-making. It is indeed poignant that her earthly life would conclude on Nov. 7, 2022, in Bryan/College Station, TX, having completed full circle together with Rich.

Dinah was born third of five children to parents James Morriss Lee and Ila Mae Holdiness Lee in San Antonio, Texas, on March 23, 1943. She grew up there and graduated from Highlands High School before attending San Antonio College, where she obtained an Associate Degree. During her working career at USAA, she continued her education at Southwest Texas State in San Marcos, working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Management. She completed her work at Phoenix University in Sacramento, CA.

Having entered USAA employment straight out of college, the first 25 years of Dinah’s career were in San Antonio. Coworkers and executives saw firsthand her organizational skills, ability to lead and inspire teams, and proficiency in mentoring newer employees.  While working in the Training Department in San Antonio, she taught classes and was manager of a team in planning, developing, and updating training materials for auto and home insurance. She was recruited by the Systems Department to join a newly formed team challenged with design, development, and testing of a new products.  There she helped design and test the new product offerings of Rental and Fire insurance.

Dinah and Rich were married March 27, 1976. They wrote their own vows, closing with these words: “Until the Love ends.” As Rich noted, “it never ended.” From the beginning of their relationship, they enjoyed traveling and exploring places whenever they could get away and experience new places and environments. For many years USAA was a company that endorsed a four-day work week.  The three-day weekends were perfect for short trips to places like New Orleans for cuisine and culture, Hot Springs, Arkansas for the horse races, and fast ski trips to New Mexico. For their annual long vacations, they enjoyed the Bahamas and St John U.S. Virgin Islands for romantic getaways.  Also, they took time for trips to other states such as Indiana, Colorado, and Pennsylvania to visit friends.

After four years at USAA, Rich was offered a chance for new employment with the consulting department at Ernst & Ernst.  Dinah and Rich discussed the opportunity, and she advised him to “GO for it.”  However, she persuaded him to cut his hair and shave his beard because she was sure that the conservative environment of public accounting would not accept facial and shoulder-length hair.  After Rich completed the interview process, the interviewing manager and the consulting partner invited him and Dinah to dinner with two partners and their wives.  To say the least, Dinah wowed them with her looks, grace, dress, manners, and entertaining personality.  Without a doubt, the new position was solidified by her presence.

Rich’s new position at Ernst & Ernst also provided him flexibility him to join her when she took training trips to USAA offices.  When Dinah traveled to West Point, NY he joined her and they visited New York City, then traveled home by way of Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville, North Carolina. Another training trip to USAA offices in Norfolk, VA provided the opportunity to visit historical parks in and around Washington, DC.  They took road trip to Savannah, GA then up the east coast with stops in Charleston, SC and other coastal areas before arriving in Norfolk.

Soon after USAA made the decision to open a West Regional Office (WESTRO) in California to serve their growing western clientele, it provided an opportunity for Dinah to accept an invitation to be part of the leadership team, which she accepted in 1986 and officially started in 1987. Not only did Dinah establish operations, but she also pioneered and drove new product development across the company while working for various WESTRO officers including retired admirals, generals, and other division presidents.

Her professional style and talent in haute couture earned her the respectful nickname of “Lady Di,” from California coworkers and friends because of her ability to emerge in the perfect ensemble for any occasion. Rich had to have two tuxedos with color cummerbunds to match each of Dinah’s dresses when escorting her to fund-raising events for USAA that she often organized. One special memory was the official opening of the WESTRO offices in 1987, at which time the Board of Directors were present for the ribbon cutting. Their enthusiasm for her work, on- and off-hours, to make that event a reality brought her great joy. In fact, at WESTRO, Dinah became their go-to resource to organize corporate events that included fund-raising for many charitable causes, and she and Rich were often asked to host USAA’s table at charitable community events.

One coworker noted she oversaw the moves and welcoming of new employees, ensuring appropriate training for a smooth transition. She coordinated with legal liaisons regularly and gave high-level briefings to the USAA Senior team on the status of the California Proposition 101 insurance initiative and worked tirelessly to resolve early problems that developed in serving the new California-based policies and streamlining internal operations via training and bringing departments together on new operational concepts.

Another colleague at USAA noted that Dinah was one of the best leaders she had ever worked with, possessing three major styles: democratic, transformational, and coach. Her demeanor was approachable and honest, plus she was a good listener. The ultimate compliment was she heard all views before deciding, behaved in a courageous manner, firm when needed, but at all times inclusive and respectful of all. She was detail-oriented but willing to show her employees how to do something and then stepped back to let them make their own decisions, for which she was highly regarded. She earned a place in her employees’ hearts as well as their memories of cherished coworkers.

In her community, Dinah’s faith in God and faithfulness to God’s missions found her participating in churches wherever they lived as organizer, committee member, and joyful giver. Her skills in organizing fund-raisers for work extended to church as well. She put large parties together at the drop of a hat and still had time to visit all the guests.

When their church in California needed to raise money for their building fund, she and her group together organized a black-tie fundraiser, complete with silent auction, seated dinner, and of course, musical entertainment and dancing for all. Fellow church members were struck by how something they’d never seen done before could be accomplished so seamlessly yet with so much fun. That was her style and talent at its best.

Holidays meant everything to Dinah. She and Rich entertained at their homes throughout their lifetime together, and she had décor that was perfect for all holidays. Christmas was, hands down, her favorite holiday, and her collection of themed Christmas trees made every room a different experience. Ultimately, Rich built her a separate room for all her decorations!  Christmas decorations included her beloved collection of Santa Clauses and favorite cartoon character, Snoopy.  Other holidays would have themed Snoopy dogs among the decorations.

Outside the company, Dinah was a renowned USAA mentor to students in neighboring schools, where she effectively guided students to achieve academic excellence. Inside the office, Dinah was skilled at mentoring and coaching Managers to excellence, a skill for which she became beloved and even more respected. In each of her interactions she was described as tireless, classy, and graceful, with a loving personality and giving ways.

Dinah knew how to balance work and play. In their new Sacramento home base, they used their three-day vacations to visit nearby places such as Carmel, Pebble Beach, Monterrey, wine country for music and wine tasting, exquisite musical theatre options in San Francisco (“Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Misérables”), and skiing and music at Lake Tahoe.  They made repeat trips to the Carmel area, Lake Tahoe, and San Francisco because of the close proximity.

Soon, they had covered the entire west coast—California from San Diego to Vancouver and Victoria, Canada. The Evans’ family travels are a vacationer’s dream: Las Vegas/Reno, Nevada; Scottsdale/Sedona, Arizona, and Utah from Salt Lake City to St. George. They had a plan to visit all the national parks in the USA but never made it because so many existed in the Western USA within easy access. In 1988, they made a special, memorable trip to visit friends who lived in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. They first landed in Switzerland and then drove to Yugoslavia, today known as Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia. To reach Italy required a ferry ride, and what was to be a one-night planned stay in Venice turned into four nights, and several return trips.

By 2009, Dinah and Rich had retired, which brought an even greater opportunity for more travel. This time they explored via cruises, including a side stay, to Alaska; the Panama Canal (a favorite annual trip that included the 100th anniversary of the canal’s opening in 2014); Britain, Ireland, Scotland, and Normandy; Rome to Venice, with side trips to Austria and Germany; and finally, a transocean cruise to Spain, with a stay in Barcelona. Each cruise included sufficient time after arrival or before departure to get a real, nontourist sense of the people and how they lived.

Dinah had several favorite places where they returned several times: Hawaiian Islands (all of them) and Italy (Venice, Tuscany, Rome). They spent their 25th anniversary in Hawaii in 2001.  She loved Paris/Riviera/Monte Carlo) so much she had a Paris-themed room in their home. They only had one chance to visit France and Austria but had planned to return.

Music was an integral part of their travels and vacations always brought opportunities to hear great concerts in scenic vistas. When they were at home, though, Rich continued his devotion to Dinah by continually surprising her with concert tickets. He delighted in securing tickets for concerts for her favorite entertainers. He kept watch for news of upcoming dates in nearby venues. They saw Johnny Mathis, George Strait, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, the Celtic Thunder, and a phenomenal concert in Palm Desert in 2019, the Celtic Woman Christmas concert, their final vacation.

To summarize this woman of exceptional brilliance, beauty, faith, and faithfulness is to describe an angel on earth. Angels were important to Dinah. She had collection of angels of all sizes and angel paintings which were positioned throughout their home. It could be said that angels recognized her as one of their own on an earthly mission to bring compassion, joy, and teaching with love to all who were in her path. She enriched so many lives with grace. Rich considered Dinah “his angel,” and summarized her perfectly, “She was Awesome.”

Dinah was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband Richard of Bryan, and her siblings Sandra Leah Lee Dworacyzk (Edward) of Milano, Wayne Morriss Lee (Wanda) of Gause, Jim Harvey Lee (Mary Lea) of South Houston, and Tom Harbor Lee (Kathy) of Rockport, and their children. She was known to family as Dee Dee, and to her nieces and nephews as Aunt Dee Dee. Numerous friends close to her heart gave her immeasurable love, time, and care through their times together, from Texas to California and back again. Dinah and Rich had no children of their own, but they were Godparents.  She showed so much love and kindness to children of her friends that they began to love her and call her Aunt Dinah.

A memorial service is planned for early 2023 and will be announced later. At this time, Rich and her siblings and their families appreciate the many tributes and accolades that are flooding in with grand memories of Dinah. Each one is a jewel. Express condolences at Callaway-Jones.com. In lieu of flowers at this time, the family requests you consider the wonderful work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Psalm 31:19 “Oh how great is Thy goodness.”

(This verse was the Psalm of the Day being read to her the night Dinah died.)

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  1. In the late 70’s, Dinah was my manager for a couple of years in USAA Policy Service Training. She was one of those good bosses that everyone enjoys and a long time friend ever since. She was everything Rich described, just a wonderful person. She was smart and always took good care of her staff. She put me in the right places with the right people and that helped me improve my teaching and technical skills, which eventually helped me move into Information Technology, a.k.a. “Systems”.

    She is already missed.

  2. Remembering her from worship every Sunday at Advent Lutheran in CA, a woman of faith who’s life is to be celebrated. Always had a kind word. Truly a classy lady, glad to have known her, Dinah will be missed. May God bless you, Rich.

  3. Dinah was such a classy lady, with her “sharp dressed man.” I admire her faith and her amazing loving relationship that she shared with everyone who knew her. She will be missed. Rich, you were lucky to have her in your life.

  4. Dinah, a kind and caring lady with grace and style. She will be missed. A beautiful love story. Our sympathy to Rich and her family.

    Tom and Cornelia Chance

  5. Dinah, a kind and caring lady with grace and style. A beautiful love story. She will be missed. Our sympathy to Rich and her family.

    Tom and Cornelia Chance

  6. Dinah was a great friend of 35 years. As work buddies we were inseparable. We were in sync on many managerial issues. We became closer during retirement. Enjoying our times together & celebrating special events. I loved cooking for her. I’m so glad to have shared the time with her & Rich. A truly great couple. My dear friend I’ll never forget you. Photo memories on my cell brings those lovely times to life. I smile while viewing them knowing ur smiling as well from Heaven.

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