LGBT organizer and coach Jack Evans dies

July 1, 2016 - storage organizer

Dallas is famous for a organizations and Evans started many of them


DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

Jack Evans done general news a year ago when he and his partner of 54 years, George Harris, legally married, a initial same-sex integrate to do so in Dallas County. Their marriage picture, taken during a Dallas County Records Building, seemed on a front page of a New York Times and in People magazine, Paris-Match and other newspapers around a world.

Evans died Jun 24, only dual days bashful of his and Harris’ one-year authorised marriage anniversary. He was 86 years old.

At a time of his death, Evans had been in a rehab trickery for  several months. He went in to redeem from a tumble that left him with a damaged hip, though afterwards began carrying lung problems that led to his death.

Earlier this year, on Jan. 19, their 55th anniversary as a couple, Sweethearts Candy named Evans and Harris a company’s “sweethearts” for 2016, and expelled a video featuring them articulate about their some-more than half a century together.

Jack-and-GeorgeThe integrate have been members of Northaven United Methodist Church given an occurrence in 1989 during Oak Lawn UMC caused many of that church’s LGBT members to demeanour for a new church home. In 2014, when Northaven’s late minister, a Rev. Bill McElvaney, pronounced he wanted to perform a same-sex wedding, he asked Evans and Harris to be a initial integrate he married.

Because of a breach within a Methodist Church, a rite was hold during circuitously Midway Hills Christian Church. But a vast accepting for a integrate took place during Northaven.

Northaven’s comparison pastor, a Rev. Eric Folkerth, called Evans a vast figure with a jovial inlet who took his purpose as a coach to a LGBT village seriously.

Folkerth pronounced Evans was always looking to do more. After a marriage during Midway Hills, that enclosed a whirlwind internal media debate and a burdensome work of environment adult dual churches for a event, a integrate showed adult early in church a subsequent day. Folkerth asked him how he was doing and Evans said, “Doing great. So what’s next?”

Evans mostly ushered in church.

“He was impossibly means during assembly new people and creation them feel comfortable,” Folkerth said.

When he listened someone had mislaid a pursuit or had been ill, he would check adult on them to make certain they were doing alright.

“He desired being around younger people,” Folkerth continued. “On Sundays, when younger happy organisation would come, we could see a indebtedness in their faces that Jack and George would speak to them and caring about them.”

In a 2011 interview, Evans pronounced he was 32 before he certified to himself he was gay. He pronounced afterwards he had been with organisation before, though always told himself he wouldn’t do it again. Before entrance out, Evans served in a U.S. Coast Guard, stationed initial during USCG domicile in St. Louis and afterwards in Honolulu.

Evans met Harris on Jan. 19, 1961 during a Taboo Room, a bar opposite a travel from where a Oak Lawn Whole Foods now stands. Evans had recently changed to Dallas after being dismissed from a Houston Neiman Marcus store for being gay. He had managed a antique seat dialect for a high-end dialect store, and he became dialect manager for a Dallas assets and loan, where he worked for 14 years.

Evans and Harris bought their initial residence together in Oak Lawn in 1964. When they bought another house, Evans approached their attorney about sponsoring him to get his genuine estate license.


George Harris, left, and Jack Evans frequently attended Outrageous Oral, a verbal story plan of a Dallas Way. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

In 1976, Evans and Harris non-stop an bureau in a tiny building confronting Lemmon Avenue, in a same selling core as a Taboo Room where they had initial met 15 years before. Within a few years,

Evans-Harris Real Estate became one of a largest genuine estate companies in Oak Lawn.

In a early 1990s, a integrate frequently had lunch during Wyatt’s Cafeteria, opposite a travel from their office, with John Thomas, executive executive of a organisation now famous as Resource Center. Other village members began to join them.

Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman commented once, “Now this is a energy lunch.”
Prompted by that comment, Evans suggested a organisation spin a Stonewall Business Association.

Stonewall Professional and Business Association met monthly for some-more than a decade until Evans, Harris and Leo Cusimano, afterwards promotion executive for Dallas Voice and now a book company’s publisher and co-owner, suggested they form an LGBT Chamber of Commerce and associate with a inhabitant LGBT chamber.

A organisation of 7 village leaders — including then-Stonewall Professional and Business Association President Mark Shekter — met and motionless to form a chamber. They allocated Harris to a new organization’s strange executive committee.

“Jack offering a fortitude and knowledge we indispensable as a board,” Cusimano said. “We chose Jack since he was one of a many devoted people in a community.”

Evans also served on a house of a Turtle Creek Chorale in a 1990s and on a initial house of a Fort Worth Men’s Chorus, that achieved from 1993 until 2006.

Turtle Creek Chorale Executive Director Bruce Jaster pronounced distinct his impasse in other organizations, Evans wasn’t a owner of a chorale; he became concerned during deteriorate 14.

“He was impossibly reliable, understanding and irreplaceable,” Jaster said.

He described Evans’ house purpose as mentor, fundraiser and support for a staff. But he was best, Jaster said, during articulate about and compelling a chorale.

“He excelled during that,” Jaster said. “Jack and George strongly upheld whatever they threw their support behind.”

Evans’ many new plan was The Dallas Way.

After revelation stories about happy life in Dallas in a 1960s to Dallas Voice for an essay celebrating their 50th anniversary, Evans suggested an classification should collect a story of North Texas’ LGBT community.

He sent an email to village members explaining a thought and asked, “Will it fly?”

Harris’ greeting to a email was, “Oh, no, not another group.” But Evans brought a right people together, and The Dallas Way took off.

“That’s what Jack was best at,” pronounced Robert Emery, a initial house member of The Dallas Way. “He knew how to move a right people together to perform his vision.”

Emery pronounced Evans would take an impossibly elementary thought — like collecting Dallas happy story or carrying a monthly business village lunch — and spin that into a powerhouse organization.

The Dallas Way connected a right people, Emery explained. The repository are now stored during University of North Texas’ cold storage facility. Photos and other artifacts are being digitized. Copies of all issues of Dallas Voice and other LGBT publications have been done accessible online. Resource Center’s Phil Johnson Collection has been added.

The repository have been used for all from credentials investigate for films such as Dallas Buyers Club to educational investigate by students in UNT’s LGBT studies program.

All of that resulted from a elementary email Evans sent that put a right people together, Emery said.

Evans and Harris perceived a series of honors for their work together in a community. They perceived a Texas Human Rights Foundation’s Robert Schwab Memorial Award in 1996, given to village members who worked toward equal rights in Texas. In 1997, they were a initial organisation postulated a Extra Mile Award. Black Tie Dinner respected them in 1998 with a Ray Kuchling Humanitarian Award. And in 2008, DIFFA named a integrate Legends in a Fight Against AIDS.

But it was their energy as a couple, rather than their purpose as a energy couple, that done maybe a biggest impact on a people around them. Their adore for any other and their adore for their village helped renovate that village into one famous national as a citadel of successful classification and swell toward LGBT equality.

Evans’ genocide stirred Mayor Mike Rawlings to emanate a matter anguish a loss.

“Dallas mourns a detriment of Jack Evans, a former bank employee, genuine estate agent, happy rights romantic and, many of all, a amatory father to George Harris,” Rawlings wrote.

“Over a march of their 50-plus years together, Jack and George went from losing their jobs and being forced to censor their adore to celebrating final year as a initial same-sex integrate to legally marry in Dallas County,” Rawlings continued. “I cruise it an respect to have spent some time with Jack and we wish it gives George some comfort to know that his city and many opposite a nation are anguish with him.”

A commemorative use will be hold during 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jul 2 during Northaven United Methodist Church, 11211 Preston Road. Donations might be done to a North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, The Dallas Way or a Northaven Youth Fund.

This essay seemed in a Dallas Voice imitation book Jul 1, 2016.


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