Published on May 2, 2023 by Diamond Nunnally  
Samuel Todd Evans Scholarship
Meia Evans pictured (holding husband's photo) with entire family on Samford University's campus.

Samuel "Todd" Evans ’87, D.Min. ’97 dedicated his entire life to ministry. He poured everything he had into the church and into his family. But, in 2022, just days before Easter, Todd passed away unexpectedly after suffering complications from surgery. He was 57. 

“It has left such a huge void,” wife Meia Evans said. “We will always and forever grieve that loss.”  

Family and friends described Todd as hardworking, focused and driven. Someone who did everything with excellence, especially when it came to ministry.  

“It was everything,” Meia said. “His calling was the driving force behind everything that he did. It was God first, family and then the church.”  

Introverted by nature, Todd never imagined himself as a pastor. But from the moment God called him into ministry while sitting in the back row at a church revival service, he took it seriously.

“Aside from his salvation experience, being called into the ministry was huge," Meia said. "He surrendered everything that he had."        

                                                              Samuel "Todd" Evans. (Courstesy: Evans Family)

He strived to be the best he could be. And for Todd, that meant receiving ministerial training. So, when a man randomly came to his church to talk about seminary options, he was all ears. He even followed up with him afterward to learn more.  

The man took Todd to his car and out of the dozens of pamphlets scattered in his trunk, the one from Samford University stood out. He wanted to be a trained minister, and Samford offered him that kind of education. However, finding the money to attend would not be easy.  

Todd didn't grow up with everything handed to him, Meia explained. His parents were middle-class people who worked for everything they had. Private school seemed more like a dream than a reality. However, the love for their son did not have a price tag. They would do anything to see Todd successful. His father said, "You have one shot. You do it, or you're coming home."  

From that moment forward, they worked two-fold to get him through school.  

After years of demanding work and dedication to live out his calling, Todd graduated from Samford in 1987 with a degree in religion and then earned his Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1990. Seven years later, he graduated from Samford again with a Doctor of Ministry from Beeson Divinity School. 

“He loved Samford," Meia said. "My kids have all grown up hearing about it.” 

So much so that it inspired two of their children to attend the university. Their daughter, Ellie Evans Roesener, graduated from Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing in 2022, and their son, Sam Evans, graduated in 2021 with a B.A. in public administration from Howard College of Arts and Sciences and the Brock School of Business.  

“It meant the world to me and my husband that our two oldest children chose Samford University,” Meia said. “For Todd, it was the gift of a lifetime. To be able to walk on campus with our children, visit for Family Weekend and go to Step Sing was such a blessing and something our entire family will always treasure.” 

Todd spent 30-plus years serving God and others. From 1990-1997, Todd served as pastor at Corinth Heights Baptist Church in Haleyville, Alabama, Parkview Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama, from 1997-2018, and First Baptist Church in Abbeville, Alabama, until his death.  

In 2017, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which led to a years-long battle with his health. Fast forward to 2022, a routine surgery developed into an infection that was too aggressive to fight off.  

“Even when we didn’t know the severity of his illness, all Todd could say was, “I just want to get ready for Easter,” Meia said. “The whole time, I never lost hope.” 

It wasn't until the doctor came in and told Meia, “I’m going to shoot it to you straight, your husband's not going to make it," when she realized the time with her husband of 27 years had come to an end. On April 7, 2022, Todd passed away. He was buried on Palm Sunday.  

“My husband is a very humble man," Meia said. "He would not want a lot of fanfare. But as his family, we want to do something to honor his legacy in ministry.” 

Seeking to help young ministers pursue their calling, the Evans family started the Dr. Samuel "Todd" Evans Scholarship. 

“Knowing how important it was for him to be trained by a school like Samford, we want to help somebody else that is just starting out," Meia said. “The Lord has given us so much that we want to give back.” 

The Dr. Samuel "Todd" Evans Scholarship will be awarded at the beginning of each school year to a Samford student involved in the Biblical and Religious Studies Preministerial Scholars program with a desire to pursue vocational ministry.  

"We are eternally grateful to the Evans family for not only continuing Todd's remarkable witness but for ensuring that a deserving student is reminded of Todd's work and dedication to the gospel through this scholarship,” said Associate Professor and Preministerial Scholars Director Tyshawn Gardner.  

“It brings joy to me and my kids," Meia said. "We feel like it’s just a very small thing we can do to honor his service to the Lord and us.”  

Support the Dr. Samuel "Todd" Evans Scholarship.  


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.