On April 9, 2020, Dr. Evan Weissman, PhD, passed away suddenly while at home with his family, having just turned 42 years old.
Evan was born March 20, 1978, in Syracuse, New York, to Marsha Weissman and Jim Vermeulen. He grew up in the Strathmore neighborhood, and graduated from Nottingham High School. Evan earned his bachelor's degree from SUNY Binghamton in 2000, master's degree from the University of Tennessee in 2005, and doctorate degree from Syracuse University in 2012. He stayed at Syracuse University after graduating, where he was an associate professor in the Food Studies and Nutrition department at Falk College, and undergraduate director of the Food Studies program. Evan earned numerous awards for his excellence in teaching and public engagement.
Evan devoted his life to family, friends, food, and social justice. Evan believed in building a strong community where everyone has a chance to live well and enjoy life. He led by example, both in striving to make the world around him more equitable, and in enjoying life to the fullest. As a professor and researcher, his focus was inequality in access to food in urban America. He connected his students both to the causes of inequality and the many ways to address it. Though his work focused on local communities, the respect he earned for his scholarship was international. His unwavering dedication to these causes led to him to be a co-founder of Syracuse Grows, an organization that supports urban food production through community gardening. Evan was also proud to help launch the newly-formed Syracuse-Onondaga Food Systems Alliance (SOFSA), an organization committed to ensuring access to a healthy, just, resilient, and sustainable food system in Onondaga County.
As respected as he was for his work, Evan was more loved for who he was as a person. He often brought together friends and family and made those around him laugh, think, and feel loved and supported. Evan was known to his family and friends as the person to go to for advice - "life tips" - on any and all subjects. No matter his own personal or professional responsibilities, he was always there to help, whether that be tackling a house project, taking care of children, offering advice about an academic career, or working through a community problem. Evan will be remembered for his smile, laugh, intellect, values, selflessness, and work ethic. He also will be remembered as someone happiest when wearing a kitchen apron, cooking with and for family and friends. We will all miss his love of sharing a meal together.
Evan leaves behind Erin Murphy, his wife of 13 years. Evan and Erin met and fell in love in high school. They were best friends that remained wildly in love with each other. They saw life as an adventure to explore with each other, and made the most of their time together in every way. Evan and Erin felt incredibly fortunate to bring three amazing people into the world: Rowan (11), Éamon (9), and Lorna (6) Murphy-Weissman. Evan's family also includes his brother Casey Weissman-Vermeulen (wife Sarah Workman, children Ira and Simon), parents Marsha Weissman and Jim Vermeulen, aunts Deborah Weissman (Lou Perez), Lolly Levy, Steffie Nagel and Nagel family, Susan Horn, Sue Gorton, Barb Riley, Wendy Vermeulen, and Nancy Vermeulen, uncles Jeff Vermeulen, Alan Rosenthal (Kate Radway) and Granger Ward, cousins Alann Weissman-Ward (Rima Miles), Lisa Weissman-Ward (Joshua Arce, children Desmond and Lennon), Keith Rosenthal, Greg Rosenthal (Lauren Tejada), Amara Perez, Maya Perez, Jeff Levy (AnnDee), Jan Levy, Amanda Halle, Caragh Reilly, and Meghan Reilly (Emma and Erin), and mother-in-law Diane Murphy, sisters-in-laws Galyn Murphy-Stanley (George Stanley, children Aydan, Brynn and Devin), Kynna Murphy (Michael Collins, children Keelin and Saoirse), Shannon Murphy, and Meghan Murphy (John Burns, children Shiloh, Shane, and Cian).
There will be a celebration of Evan's life when it becomes safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to a fund in support of his children at gofundme.com/f/murphyweissman-family-fund.