It is with a heavy heart that I write of a huge loss to the Dallas Real Estate community and to all of us: our Jack Evans.
Rev. Eric Folkerth, pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church, where Evans, 86, and his spouse, George Harris, 83, are members, announced the death today. But earlier this morning, I had received a call alerting me to Jack’s death. Jack died Thursday evening. He most recently had worked with Worth Ross & Associates.
“I’m sorry to inform you that Jack Evans died last night at Baylor hospital. As many of you know, Jack had been fighting lung issues for some weeks and was never able to overcome them. George and I prayed with Jack before his death, and he was definitely at peace at the end,” Folkerth wrote on Facebook.
Jack and George were the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Dallas County, Texas. They waited 38 years to tied the knot on June 26, 2015, soon after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision. Their wedding on June 26, 2015 made numerous headline and media posts throughout the country. This sounds soooo much like Jack:
On the day of his wedding, Evans even told PEOPLE MAGAZINE: “We’re having a blast.”
At long last: the couple had been through the ringer with anti-gay hardships and discrimination having come of age in the late 1950’s.
Harris told PEOPLE last year: “I came to Dallas in 1956 and we being Texans said, ‘We want to wait this out.’ And I said, ‘I hope we live this out.’ “
Talk about patience. Both Jack and George had been fired at some point in their careers for being gay, Jack from Neiman Marcus in Houston, George from the CIA. They met in Dallas in 1961, and soon the casual couple became a force. Ultimately they worked side by side in real estate. They were well known activists in the Dallas GLBT community. But when they married officially, Jack said it was worth the wait – and not merely for the “I do’s.”
“I was more concerned about when I was going to kiss!” Evans said, laughing.
I can just HEAR him! According to their minister, 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,” Folkerth wrote on his Facebook page. “To see the care that he and George gave to each other, not only on every average day, but also in the quiet of a hospital room, was an inspiration to me on countless occasions.
It is amazing how patiently Jack and George waited, tolerating society as they bravely lived their lives. As former D Magazine Editor Christina Daglas wrote:
Over five decades, Evans and Harris, who are both in their 80s, have seen marked changes in Dallas’ gay community. They saw people get arrested in the ’60s at house parties. They saw people circle the block in the ’70s before entering Metropolitan Community Church for fear of getting arrested. They saw more than 100 friends die of complications from AIDS in the ’80s.
“Please pray,” asked Folkerth, “for George, and for all of us who were a part of his extended family.”
Indeed. Jack Evans was one of the biggest delights of the Dallas Real Estate industry. Their Jack & George listings were always upbeat and fun, and the duo knew real estate from the inside out.
On a more personal note, I love these men. We often teased about sharing the same last name, and Jack & George were one of my earliest supporters when I started a real estate blog in Dallas — first DallasDirt at D Magazine, then my own CandysDirt. Amazingly, for being in their 80’s, both read this blog. Every birthday I could count on a personal message from Jack:
“Happy Birthday! Go out & have some F U N! Jack&George”: Last year’s birthday wishes from Jack & George.