Evert Asjes III, a former Kansas City councilman known for his jovial and wise presence, has died at the age of 77.
Asjes died Tuesday night after a long illness.
“He really loved Kansas City, and he believed he did important things for the city — and loved doing it,” said his wife, Susan.
Asjes, a lifelong Kansas City resident, was first appointed to fill an unexpired seat on the City Council in 1981 but chose not to run for election in 1983 because he was busy running the Rosehill Gardens nursery, which his grandparents, immigrants from Holland, had established in 1914.
Asjes then decided to run for City Council in 1995 and won a close race against candidate Charlotte Hill for the 4th District at-large seat. He ran unopposed for a second term in 1999 and served until 2003. During those years, he served under mayors Emanuel Cleaver and Kay Barnes.
Former City Council members Ed Ford and Teresa Loar remembered Asjes (pronounced “ashes”) with great fondness, saying he was the wise elder statesman on the council and an adept leader as the finance committee chairman.
Ford said that because Asjes had prior council experience and was somewhat older than most of the other council members, he had a calm and evenhanded perspective on issues.
Ford recalled a time when he was getting all worked up over a minor argument about how Cleaver wanted to spend some tourism dollars.
“I was arguing against it, and as sometimes these things go, it got a little heated. Evert, from his seat, was motioning me to sit down.”
Ford realized Asjes was right, and he did sit down.
“It was not an issue I wanted to burn any bridges on,” he said.
Loar said Asjes was always the nice guy on the council, willing to listen to anyone.
“The one thing I’ll remember is his laugh,” she said. “Nothing every really ruffled him.”
Asjes was also a past chair of the Center School District board and the Citizens Association political club, and he supported numerous community organizations.
Born June 6, 1936, to Kathryn Duncan Asjes and Evert Asjes Jr., he graduated from Pembroke Country Day School for Boys and received a degree in landscape design from Kansas State University in 1958.
Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Stine & McClure Chapel, 3235 Gillham Plaza. A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Unity Temple on the Plaza.