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Obituary: Evan Powers Thill

Evan Powers Thill, of Cloquet, died Saturday, April 22, 2023 at the age of 28. Born May 6, 1994, he is survived by his beloved son, Thomas; loving parents, Blythe and Parnell; sister, Aubrey; brother-in-law, Kevin; brothers, Nicholas and Simon; grandmother Judith; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Evan was preceded in death by paternal grandparents, Kenneth and Glenda Thill — whose left-cheek dimple Evan inherited — as well as a generation of friends and peers decimated by the ongoing opioid epidemic, whose names have sadly graced obituary pages everywhere.

Evan was a gregarious and precocious child with outsized intelligence and a penchant for Getting the Last Word. By middle school, Evan’s verbal skills — written and spoken — had become evident; he was later described by his high school English teacher as “verbally elite” as a bookend to the consistent remarks on his elementary school report cards: “Talks too much.” And “Must be separated from Joey Martin.”

A voracious reader and intense sports fan, Evan had an abiding — and frustrating — devotion to the Minnesota Vikings. Silly boy.

In what seemed like an instant, Evan evolved from cherubically adorable and hilarious, to lean and beautiful, his physical presence graceful and fluid. At 5-foot-10, Evan was proud of his title as “The Tallest Thill” and lorded the fact over his exasperated brothers, uncles and dad at every opportunity.

And, unlike the rest of the Thill boys, the kid knew how to wear clothes.

… By the time Evan entered high school, his life had begun to show signs of distress as his exposure to opioids led to an increasingly devastating addiction. His intense personality, competitive nature, softhearted sensitivity and the general malaise of his addiction-addled community served as an ever-darkening avenue toward destruction.

In 2011, Evan’s son, Thomas, was born, providing a blinding light of transcending hopefulness. Evan’s relationship with Tommy was as touching as it was entertaining to observe. From an early age, it was abundantly evident that Tommy had inherited his dad’s intelligence, verbosity and that uncanny ability to score the last word. At times, Evan and Tommy interacted like competitive brothers as much as father and son — barely 16 years apart — the two of them bantering and teasing one another mercilessly, like two kids in a tree fort.

In 2016, 3-year-old Sophie came into Evan’s life. He provided Father Figure attention to Sophie and cared for her lovingly. As recently as the week before he died, Evan expressed his brokenheartedness about the distanced relationship with his son Thomas and Sophie, too.

Evan loved Thomas until his last breath. The fact that he was not able to directly communicate that love to him for the past several years was undoubtedly a factor in his depression, undeserved sense of worthlessness, loneliness, desperation and isolation.

Indeed, separation from those he loved most became a consistently brutal theme in Evan’s life — a perfectly deadly recipe for the onslaught of the opioid addiction that killed him.

He died alone and scared on someone’s bathroom floor.

Evan lives on, eternally, not only in the hearts and minds of those of us that knew him, but in the ever-widening concentric circles of influence his life — as with all our lives — will have on the community of humans that share this broken planet.

A celebration in honor of Evan’s life and for mourning his death will take place at the Good Hope Church, 55 Armory Road, Cloquet, on Sunday, April 30. Visitation is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A short service will follow, to include a eulogy given by Evan’s father, Parnell.

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