DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - After being together for some 56 years, but only getting married around this time last year, one part of a historic Dallas couple is gone. Jack Evans, the man who with his partner became the first gay couple to marry in Dallas, has died.
Evans died Thursday night, just days shy of his first wedding anniversary. After having had a religious ceremony the couple decided to make their union legally binding after the United States Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry.
A post on the Northaven United Methodist Church Facebook page said George had been having serious problems with his lungs for several weeks and passed away at Baylor Hospital.
Part of the post by Rev. Eric Folkerth read:
"Jack and George had a remarkable 56 years together. Jack was gregarious, funny, a strong believer in social justice, and a mentor to generations of LGBTQ people, and their straight allies. He lived through remarkable social change for LGBTQ people, marveled at those changes, and was a key part in those social changes happening."
CBS 11 News had sat down with the couple earlier in 2015 and they talked about how times had changed since 1961 -- the year they met and when their lifestyle was illegal. Jack recalled once when Dallas police set up a sting operation targeting the gay community. "The police set up a party afterwards," he said. "Once everybody got there, the police backed up a paddy wagon and arrested 29 people before they could get out the back door or hop out a window. [They] published their names in the Dallas Times Herald the next day, on a Sunday morning. Every one of those guys had to leave the city."
Jack Evans was 86-years-old.
Funeral arrangements for Jack Evans are pending, but the memorial will reportedly take place at Northaven.
Friday afternoon, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings released this statement on Evans' passing:
"Dallas mourns the loss of Jack Evans, a former bank employee, real estate agent, gay rights activist and, most of all, a loving husband to George Harris. Over the course of their 50-plus years together, Jack and George went from losing their jobs and being forced to hide their love to celebrating last year as the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Dallas County. I consider it an honor to have spent some time with Jack and I hope it gives George some comfort to know that his city and many across the country are mourning with him."
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