Dale Evans Dead At 88

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, before they both died
Dale Evans, the singer-actress who teamed with husband Roy Rogers in popular Westerns and co-wrote their theme song, Happy Trails to You, died Wednesday at 88.

Evans died of congestive heart failure at her home in Apple Valley, near Los Angeles said a family member. She had suffered a heart attack in 1992 and a stroke in 1996.

Evans' son and other family members were at her side. A memorial service will be held on Saturday.

Evans, the "Queen of the Cowgirls" was married for over 50 years to Roy Rogers, "King of the Cowboys," until his death in 1998.

They partnered together in over 27 movies, including such Saturday afternoon favorites as My Pal Trigger, Apache Rose and Don't Fence Me In. Their first collaboration was Cowboy and the Senorita in 1944. Rogers would ride his beloved palomino, Trigger, and Evans would be beside him on her trusty mount, Buttermilk.

As the B western film genre began fading in the early 1950s, the pair cast their eyes toward television. The Roy Rogers Show ran from 1951 to 1957. Later incarnations included The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show in 1962, and Happy Trails Theatre a show of their repackaged movies that aired on cable TV's Nashville Network from 1986 to 1989.

In 1951 she co-wrote Happy Trails which would become the couple's theme song. She also wrote the 1955 gospel standard The Bible Tells Me So.

After Rogers' death in 1988 Evans remembered him as "a wonderful human being. What a blessing to have shared my life together with him for almost 51 years. To say I will miss him is a gross understatement. He was truly the king of the cowboys in my life."

Evans was born Frances Octavia Smith on October 31, 1912, in Uvalde, Texas.

With her marriage to Rogers an instant family was formed. Dale had a son Torn from a first marriage, and Roy had an adopted daughter Cheryl, and birth children Linda Lou and Roy Rogers, Jr. "Dusty", from his first wife Arline, who had died after Dusty's birth. Rogers and Evans had one child together - Robin, whose death from complications associated with Down's Syndrome inspired Evan's classic book, Angel Unaware. They later adopted three other children and raised a foster child. Unfortunately the family lost three of the children to tragedy.

Evans was matriarch to a small nation of sixteen grandchildren and 30 plus great grandchildren.

Throughout her life, she was active in Christian evangelism, which she called "the most meaningful, the most enjoyable part of my life."

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