Selma Legend Evans honored during Celebration of Life

Published 12:50 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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It was standing room only at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church as people came from near and far to say their final goodbyes to George Patrick Evans, a man who positively impacted the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people as an educator, coach, referee, and public servant. Members of the SWAC conference, SEC conference, Alpha Phi Alpha, members of Congress, U.S representatives, City Councilmen, State Representatives, clergymen, friends and family all came together as one to say their final goodbyes to Evans in a three-hour program filled with songs, prayers, scripture, and testimonials from people who spoke to the crowd about how, in many ways, he made their lives better and more prosperous. Interim Pastor at the Reformed Presbyterian Church Winston Williams welcomed everyone and gave the order of the program, with the first section consisting of reflections of Evans as an educator, coach and referee. One of Evans’ former players, Rev. Lazarus Taylor, spoke first and talked about how Evans was the reason he not only excelled as an athlete, but also became a better man. As the stories continued, punctuated by laughter and tears, praises rang out through the building as a common theme began to form with each person who addressed the crowd – how the city of Selma had lost a legend. United States Congresswoman and Selma native Terri Sewell was one of the speakers. She spoke at one point not as a politician, but on a personal level. She talked about how Evans and his wife Jeannie gave her her first job babysitting.

“George Evans has always been a man of great character and honor,” Sewell said. “He loved God. He loved his family. He loved sports. He loved his community. There is no greater honor than to represent your hometown. He loved Selma.”

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. also spoke about Evans and gave comfort to his family and those in attendance. “At the buzzer when there were zeros on the clock George found himself on the other side of the 18th hole of life,” Perkins said. “Because he believed that Jesus is the Christ. George Patrick Evans won his last and final competition and that’s good news.”

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Alabama Senator Robert Stewart talked about Evans supporting him when no one else did when he first started running for the Alabama Senate seat.

“He was a true friend,” Stewart said. “He let everyone know that you were his friend. He was one of the first people outside of my own family to openly support me. He came to every event I had. He gave donations. He put up signs. When I got to the House people already knew me. Senators and Representatives told me ‘George Evans told me about you. You’re good in my book.”

After almost two hours of reflection on a life well lived, and one dedicated to public service, Gospel Tabernacle Church Pastor John E. Grayson gave the Eulogy and spoke on “My Friend George.” He talked about a theme he had heard throughout the day and it was a theme that he said defined George Evans.

“When we talk about George Evans I heard a very central theme,” Grayson said. “Almost everyone who came up pretty much said the same thing because he was just that kind of man.” He did not change. He was who he was. He was that way in the mayor’s office. He was that way in the movie theater. He was that way in the restaurant. He was always George Evans.”