Former Selma Mayor George Evans dies

Published 10:03 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

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George Evans’ generosity and kindness went beyond his terms as Selma’s Mayor.

The Selma community is saddened by the death of Evans, who passed away Monday night. Funeral arrangements haven’t been announced.

Selma residents share their memories of Evans, who served as Selma Mayor from 2008 until 2016.  Before Evans became Mayor, he was well-known in other capacities beyond the Evans Special Needs event that he began after his Mayoral days ended. Evans served as President of the Selma City Council and served many years as superintendent of Dallas County Schools.

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U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell called Evans’ passing a sad day in Selma. The George P. Evans building is named in his honor.

“Today, the City of Selma lost a giant. I am sending my heartfelt condolences to the family on the passing of George P. Evans, the former two-term Mayor of Selma,” Sewell said. “From being Dallas County’s first Black school board superintendent to his 16 years of public service as President of the Selma City Council and then as Mayor, Evans led by example through his hard work, perseverance, grit, and kindness. During his tenure as Mayor, he partnered with my office to create jobs and bring vital federal resources home to Selma and Dallas County. From his demonstrated efforts to revitalize downtown Selma to his dedicated commitment to making our community stronger and safer, Mayor Evans fought hard to improve the lives of the people he served.

“I will never forget the honor of standing alongside Mayor Evans and President Obama at the foot of the Selma bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, as the Mayor welcomed the world to his beloved hometown. I have known Mayor Evans all my life and he has always been a strong voice and a tireless fighter for the people of Selma. He loved his family, his church, his city, and most of all, he loved people. His public service has left an indelible imprint on Selma and he will be missed. Let us find comfort knowing that his incredible legacy will live on in the many people he touched. May he rest in peace and power.”

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. praised Evans for his determination and always going the extra mile.

“It is with great sadness that the City of Selma, Alabama acknowledges the passing of the  Honorable George Patrick Evans,” Perkins said. “The Honorable Evans was the first African-American to be elected City Council President of Selma, Alabama in the year 2000 and was elected Mayor of the City in 2008 where he served for eight years. He passed away on May 15, 2023.  The Honorable Evans was a valued member of our City who continued serving right up to the end. He will be missed. Please keep the Evans family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.”

Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn, who was City Attorney during Evans’ two terms as Mayor, said he enjoyed their personal and professional relationship.

“I am tremendously saddened by the loss of former Mayor George P. Evans,” Nunn said. “My condolences go out to his wife and the family. I worked with Mayor Evans for 16 years as city attorney.  He has always been a person who tried to unite the city and the community. With all of his attributes to this community and the State of Alabama, he is considered a legend. His legacy will live on through his family and others. To say it in simplest form, he was just a great man. My family and I will personally miss him. This one hits hard. Dallas has lost a giant. During this difficult time, it is our prayers that God will bless the family with his peace and keep them in his care.”

Selma City Council President Billy Young said he will always cherish his friendship with Evans.

“He was my friend and a man that helped many people,” Young said. “He was always doing something kind.”

Former Selma City Council President Corey Bowie said Evans made an impact during his two terms as Mayor.

“Mayor Evans, throughout his career, served as a consensus builder bringing everyone to the table for an amicable resolution. Mayor Evans has left an indelible mark locally and nationally. He will be truly missed.”

Former Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson remembers Evans for his humble demeanor.

“George Evans was a great Mayor who was a friend to all,” Jackson said. “He would financially help a lot of citizens who were down on their luck, but he didn’t broadcast this.”

Selma-Dallas County Public Library Executive Director Becky Nichols said Evans’ passion for improving Selma never left him.

“Mayor Evans was a gracious and caring leader of our community,” Nichols said. “I recall his continuous support for the people of Selma and improving their quality of life through so many organizations, including the library. His conduct was always that of a gentleman in life and politics. We will miss his quiet wisdom in the continuing development of our city.”

Evans was also a former basketball referee who officiated NCAA Tournament games involving legendary and national championship coaches, including Bobby Knight, Jim Boeheim and John Calipari. He’s officiated an Elite Eight game. He was later inducted into the SWAC Basketball Hall of Fame. Evans spent over spent 30 years officiating SWAC games and served as the conference’s director of men’s and women’s officials for over a decade. Evans started officiating in 1968 and  graded officials for the SEC at University of Alabama home basketball games.

Vaughan Regional Medical Center CEO David McCormack, a member of the Evans Special Needs Board,  praised Evans for  his humbleness.

“George Evans was a selfless, man who put other’s needs before his own. His work with special needs children and the Evans Foundation is just one example of his servant spirit.  We are praying for his family, friends and Mrs. Jeannie. His compassion to serve Selma will be greatly missed, but I am sure his legacy will go on.”

Courtney Utsey, Director of Special Education at Selma City Schools, said Evans was always there for the teachers.

“Mayor Evans had a tremendous impact on teachers and students with disabilities,”  Utsey said. He was always encouraging and supportive.  I have truly enjoyed working with him over the past decade. His absence will be felt.”