Jack Laws passes away

Jack Laws, longtime baritone for The Inspirations and current baritone for Smoky Mountain Reunion, passed away this afternoon. Smoky Mountain Reunion posted on Facebook: “Our dear brother, Jack Laws, has just passed from this life to GLORY!!! Please pray for his family and his quartet family, we will miss him so. He is in that wonderful place Where He Will Never Grow Old!!!!”

Laws toured with the Inspirations in three different stints, from 1964-1971, for about five years in the 1980s, and on a part-time basis from 1999 through 2008.

Here is a video of Laws singing “Too Much to Gain To Lose” with Smoky Mountain Reunion; it’s especially poignant today:


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10 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. R.I.P. Jack, you are home in Glory now.

  2. I have memories of him and the rest of the Inspirations coming to my church several times in my childhood. They’d always get him up there to do one or two songs. It wasn’t until much later I became aware of his outstanding legacy in gospel music. By all accounts, he was a very sweet and gracious man, and his voice was velvet.

    My favorite song of his is “It Wasn’t the Nails That Held Him There”…a unique song, and a perfect match for his unique voice.

  3. I am saddened by the loss of Mr. Jack. I met him in April of this year when Archie Watkins and The Smokey Mountain Reunion came to Jackson,Georgia for a Benefit Concert. We built a wonderful friendship in a short time. I will miss “The Old Bear Hunter”. Rest in peace my friend. You are missed by many.

  4. I have been an Inspirations fan as long as I can remember.. I have all of their early lps several times over, been to a lot of concerts.. and have raised children on them. This is truly a sad day.. but I know that the Ol Bear Hunter is happy and in the presence of our wonderful Savior who he sang about all these years.. It was good to have been able to talk with him at a couple of Smokey Mt Reunion concerts in recent years.. we will miss this great man, but What a Wonderful Time he is having now!!!!

  5. My favorite song featuring Mr. Laws is “I Sure Do Want to Go,” from the 1982 Inspirations “Someday” album. I love the words of that song, as only he could sing them, “…No I’ve never been there, but I sure do want to go…” Mr. Laws struggled to get around in his later years, but it was always an honor to see him and hear him sing. He will be greatly missed.

  6. This was such a kind man if God and a very good singer. I seen him many times with the inspirations.
    Prayers for his family and friends.
    REST IN PEACE : OLE BEAR HUNTER!!!

  7. The Inspirations will be celebrating 50 years next year, and I believe Jack Laws may be the first member (at least vocally) who has passed away. Though the Inspirations’ own website doesn’t mention it, some places online say their original bass singer was Dean Robinson. I don’t know if that’s true, or if that person is still alive. Everyone else who has sang with them is still alive, and nearly all of them got together to sing at Jack’s funeral.

  8. Thank you all for such kind words God bless you all Dad is now waiting for us there and like Dad and The Inspirations sang for many years ive got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday

    • I was honored to see and hear your dad sing numerous times. They had a power failure at the Inspiration Park and your Dad sang without music. After singing your dad was standing over next to the fence. I walked over and told him, I think the power failure was a blessing because he was singing by himself. I have had a CD of his in my truck CD player for weeks. I have listened to his great voice for hours. I would set my favorites on repeat and listen over and over. My wife who sings gospel in church and for many, many funerals broke her baby bottle in the Coliseum at an Inspirations concert. Our son was listening to your dad at Inspiration Park when he was just months old. We feel like we have lost a family member. Your Dad now sings beside the Crystal River of water flowing from the throne of God. May God strengthen you and bless you and all of your family in your sorrow. But, you can always remember your Dad ” walked through the hot burning deserts, struggling the right road to choose, now he’s arrived at that cool clear water, where there’s too much to gain to lose. One of God’s blessings to me in this world was to meet your Dad and hear that unique voice God made just for ” The Old Bear Hunter”.

    • I was honored to see and hear your dad sing numerous times. They had a power failure at the Inspiration Park and your Dad sang without music. After singing your dad was standing over next to the fence. I walked over and told him, I think the power failure was a blessing because he was singing by himself. I have had a CD of his in my truck CD player for weeks. I have listened to his great voice for hours. I would set my favorites on repeat and listen over and over. My wife who sings gospel in church and for many, many funerals broke her baby bottle in the Coliseum at an Inspirations concert. Our son was listening to your dad at Inspiration Park when he was just months old. We feel like we have lost a family member. Your Dad now sings beside the Crystal River of water flowing from the throne of God. May God strengthen you and bless you and all of your family in your sorrow. But, you can always remember your Dad ” walked through the hot burning deserts, struggling the right road to choose, now he’s arrived at that cool clear water, where there’s too much to gain to lose. One of God’s blessings to me in this world was to meet your Dad and hear that unique voice God made just for ” The Old Bear Hunter”.