SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga community said goodbye to a pillar Thursday afternoon at Patterson Baseball Complex, at the celebration of life for Danny Evans.

Evans passed away on April 23 at the age of 41, after a year-long battle with melanoma.

Danny and Kellie Evans shared their story with KHQ in a Help Me Hayley story last August.

"We're gathered to celebrate the friend he was to us, the coach he was to us, the Zag he was to us, the lover he was to Kellie, and most especially the person that Christ raised up on the last day," Father C. Hightower said.

A moving tribute to a man described by many as kind, thoughtful and genuine.

"I want you to keep in mind the smile that Danny always had, because right now you know he's up in heaven smiling down on us, and he's laughing and enjoying everyone," Father Hightower said.

Gonzaga Head Baseball Coach Mark Machtolf said he knew Danny would be someone significant to their program from the moment he was recruited out of high school, all the way through his tenure as a coach.

"I know he was so passionate about baseball, but more importantly Gonzaga baseball. as he was sick and working through the illness, I could see how therapeutic it was for him to be at practice and be around his guys," Machtolf said.

Danny coached at Gonzaga for 19 years, a community that wrapped their arms around him and his family every step of the way.

"Gonzaga means more to our family than anything," Danny's wife Kellie said. "Danny loved his job, he loved the Zags."

Especially because he and Kellie were college sweethearts who met at GU.

"Only slightly more than his love for the Zags was the love for his lawn–I mean his friends and family," Kellie said with a laugh.

Danny's two young children–Quinnlyn and Graham–had touching tributes to their father.

"Dear dad, I miss you so much," 9-year-old Quinnlyn said.

"Dear dad, you are the best dad ever," 6-year-old Graham said.

Kellie called Danny the 'yin' to her 'yang' when it came to parenting, always making time for his kids–even when out on the road.

"I no doubt have some big shoes to fill, but something tells me these two kids will never, ever not be surrounded by the best reflections of their dad every day," Kellie said.

Kellie called Thursday's turnout a reflection of her late husband's legacy.

"There is no life without you in it, so we will continue to believe you will walk beside us as we move forward," Kellie said. "Heads held high, we love you."

In lieu of flowers, Danny's family is asking those with a special memory or tribute to Danny to send them via email, to teamevans8@icloud.com. Those memories will be made into a book to share with his children when they're older.

The Evans family also asks people to remember to make an appointment with their dermatologist, because it could save their life.

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