Frank Evans was born in 1923; he passed away on October 13th, 2011.
Frank Evans collecting donations at a Potomac River Sacred Harp Monthly Singing, 2006.
Local singer Gillie Campbell remembers Frank Evans
Frank became my friend in 1996, when I moved to Alexandria from Boston and
joined the local Sacred Harp singing. He and I were neighbors in Alexandria. Frank used to come over in the summer and sit
on my big shady front porch, wearing his pale linen jacket of course, and we would drink sweet iced tea with lemon and mint,
and chat. His voice, his bearing and his Tidewater Virginia accent reminded me of my family and friends in Lexington VA,
where I grew up. Since my people were Presbyterians, I could tease him about moving up the social ladder when he became an
Episcopalian, and we could talk about Harry Byrd, and about Richmond being "the holy city" for "old Virginians." Frank and
I both read a lot, we followed the news and our views on politics were about the same. We both came a long way from the days of Harry Byrd!
We drove out to Berryville for singings and often went to our local New Year’s Day singing together. I
admired Frank’s steady devotion to our local Sacred Harp community: he’d get the key to unlock the church before a singing, he kept
up with singers whom he’d known a long time but who may have become less active, he passed the hat for collections. He always brought
strawberry-rhubarb pie to dinners on the grounds. In short, he took responsibility for the community and he loved it.
Frank was born in 1923. If he’d been born in 1993, 70 years later, he’d have been 18 years old today, 2011.
He could have an open, rich life as a gay man, could marry and raise children, and he could live his life without fear. Instead, the
homophobia prevalent when Frank was born continued through most of his life, and it crippled him. It cut him off from family, friends
and community, forcing him to lead a lonely, isolated life. Also, if he were 18 today, he could have cheered as UNESCO accepted the
Palestinian proposal for statehood. He could have been proud of the Episcopal Church’s stand today regarding peace in the Middle East:
The Episcopal Church is committed to a just peace that guarantees Israel’s security and
Palestinian aspirations for a viable sovereign state with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both Israel and Palestine.
Working Together for Justice
Instead, his pleas to the church hierarchy for recognition of Palestinians’ rights were rebuffed repeatedly,
causing him finally to leave the church.
Frank found in Sacred Harp a loving, generous, lively and accepting community and he made it better. We have
been honored to be part of his community.