Jack Evans, one half of the first same-sex couple to marry legally in Dallas County one year ago, has died.
Evans, 86, had been in a rehab facility for several months, according to Dallas Voice. Evans and his partner, George Harris, 82, had celebrated their 55th anniversary in February.
Their first anniversary as a married couple would have been Sunday. Evans and Harris were married at the Records Building in downtown Dallas on June 26, 2015 —the day the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.
Jack and George first met a party in Dallas in 1961, according to KERA's Stella Chávez, who was there for the big day.
“I’m excited to see so many people down here. Love is everywhere, and that’s a great thing," George said. The couple joked saying they never thought they'd see the day, and that the marriage license was the best $90 they ever spent.
— Stella M. Chávez (@stellamchavez) June 26, 2015
According to the Voice, the longtime couple held a religious marriage ceremony before their legal ceremony to protest the Methodist Church's stand against same-sex marriage.
Jack and George lived and sold residential real estate together, and helped found many of the city's LGBT organizations, like The Dallas Way, the LGBT history project in 2011 according to KERA and Dallas Voice.
In a statement about the project, Evans wrote:
"The history of the Dallas GLBT community is rich and varied, dramatic and exciting. Its characters and events have demonstrated bravery and defiance, confidence and intelligence.
The ideas and successes that have been conceived and established here in Dallas have generated a rippl effect that has improved the lives of GLBT people throughout North Texas, and beyond."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Following the news, Mayor Mike Rawlings gave a statement about Evans on his Facebook page:
"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."