SOUTH PORTLAND — Evan Mayone loved tooling around in his mother’s 2008 Volvo convertible, Ray-Ban sunglasses on, baseball cap turned backward.

He got his driver’s permit in 2020 and his license as soon as he turned 16 the following summer. He volunteered to chauffeur family members and friends wherever they wanted to go. He called it “playing Uber.”

Evan Mayone, left, with his mother, Kimberly, and father, Mark, at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth in 2021. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Mayone

He drove his mother to and from her job at an Old Port restaurant. He met friends for breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts. He chased the moon to Cape Elizabeth just to see it rise over Kettle Cove.

“He loved driving,” his mom Kimberly Mayone said. “I’m glad he got to do that.”

A few months later, in November 2021, Evan was diagnosed with leukemia and began a valiant 14-month battle to overcome the latest of health issues that challenged him from birth. He never drove again.

Evan died Dec. 29 at Boston Children’s Hospital from chemotherapy complications that damaged his pancreas and other organs, but they never dulled his joyous spirit, quick wit, unflagging compassion and tenacious will. He was 17.


“To the moment he passed, he was focused on getting better,” his mother said. “He told me, ‘I’m not done yet.’ ”

Born at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Evan struggled to thrive as a baby and was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with ichthyosis, a rare skin disorder that caused thick, scaly, sensitive areas to develop on his hands, feet and joints.

Evan Mayone Photo courtesy of Kimberly Mayone

The condition made exposure to high temperatures potentially life-threatening because he was unable to sweat, so air conditioning was necessary spring through fall and strenuous activity had to be monitored.

But he never let it slow him down or diminish his spirit, even when it occasionally required him to use a wheelchair, said Carol Bartlett, a former education technician who worked with Evan throughout his years at Dyer Elementary and Memorial Middle schools.

Bartlett carried a first aid kit wherever they went so she could treat the blisters and other skin injuries he got every day.

“He lived with a serious health condition, but he didn’t let it define him,” she said. “He was the most positive, incredible kid and smart as a whip. He taught me more than I ever taught him.”


Evan had a dedicated posse of friends, many of them girls, who shared his interest in fashion, social media, food and other trends. Greta Cobb was his next-door best friend since they were toddlers. They spent hours every summer staying cool in the Mayones’ backyard pool.

“He was like a brother to me,” said Cobb, 18, now a freshman at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. “Our friendship stemmed from telling jokes and helping each other. He helped me through a lot, and he was so kind. Kindness. That was the No. 1 thing he showed me and others, even when they weren’t kind to him.”

They got their driver’s licenses days apart and went driving together in separate cars so they wouldn’t break the law against carrying underage passengers for nine months. They stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and got ice teas and breakfast sandwiches and wound up parking side-by-side in the lot at Shaw’s supermarket.

“We sat there with our windows rolled down, laughing and talking about the most random things,” Cobb said.

At South Portland High School, Evan was a member of the yearbook staff and the equity steering committee, and he served as class president his freshman and sophomore years. He worked as a doorman at The Portland House, a large condominium building that overlooks Portland Harbor.

“He loved that job because he was so comfortable talking with anyone,” his mother said. “He had good manners and he knew about everything, so he could converse with all different kinds of people.”


Evan loved to travel and planned to study aviation and become a commercial airline pilot. He was on track to start taking flying lessons when he learned he had leukemia.

He never lost the will to fight his illness, even after surgery in October to repair his small intestine failed to bring positive results immediately. He made plans for the places he would go and the foods he would eat when he returned to Maine. He looked forward to the hospital staff blowing bubbles in a “bubble parade” as he left the intensive care unit. It wasn’t meant to be.

“In the end it was all too much and his body was tired,” said his mother, who stayed in Boston throughout Evan’s hospitalization.

Evan Mayone, front left, with his family on Thanksgiving Day 2019, including his sister, Sophia, at right, and his brother, Harrison, mother, Kimberly, and father, Mark, standing behind him. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Mayone

In his final hours, she played more than 100 audio messages sent by friends and loved ones. They wheeled a second bed into his room so his family could take turns laying beside him, including his father, Mark, a postal worker, his brother, Harrison, an Army specialist stationed in Germany, and his sister, Sophia, a chemical engineering major at Ohio State.

“We’re a snuggly family and we couldn’t really snuggle with him otherwise,” his mother said. “It was peaceful. We played pretty music. We watched plane spotting videos on YouTube.”

The family has invited everyone to attend a funeral Mass for Evan at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. At his request, people should wear Hawaiian shirts or beach colors like turquoise, sea green and coral.

“Evan was famous for wearing Hawaiian shirts,” his mother said. “He hated the cold and loved tropical weather.”

Following the Mass, a celebration of Evan’s life will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at Solo Italiano, 100 Commercial St., Portland, where Kimberly Mayone works as a server. Several bubble machines will be set up outside for his long-awaited bubble parade.

“We’re going to blanket the Portland peninsula in bubbles,” she said. “Oh, there will be so many bubbles.”

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: