Gloria Byrns Evans
July 26, 1922-December 24, 2011 Port Arthur, TX
Gloria Evans was a drum major on the Red Hussars Drum and Bugle Corps at Port Arthur High School. On a "spur of the moment" decision and with one day's notice, she entered the Miss Port Arthur beauty pageant sponsored by a local shoe store (Boston Shoes) and received a $6.00 bathing suit as payment for representing the store. At the age of 17, she won the title and competed for Miss Texas in Mineral Wells. Gloria performed a drum major dancing routine for the talent portion of the contest. This performance earned her the title of "Miss Texas," and she competed in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. She spent much of that year entertaining the troops at USO, Red Cross, military, and other training bases throughout Texas.
The following year, the Miss Texas pageant was canceled due to the start of World War II. Gloria was asked to represent the state of Texas again in the Miss America pageant. During the competition, she was stricken with strep throat and was unable to finish the final portion of the contest. She was later invited to audition for the Radio City Rockettes in New York but declined due to illness and her desire to return home and continue her education.
In 1995 Texas state pageant authorities belatedly awarded her the second crown representing her second year as Miss Texas. Gloria Evens is the only person ever to hold the title of Miss Texas two years in a row and the only person from Port Arthur ever to win the state title.