Walter Bohannan passes away

Walter Bohannan, the Mark Trammell Quartet’s long-time bus driver, passed away suddenly today following an apparent heart attack. Singing News has visitation and funeral information here.

Two thoughts: (1) Praise God it didn’t happen while the bus was rolling down the highway, as many lives could have been lost (and not just the ones in the bus). (2) I had the chance to meet and talk with Walter on a number of occasions, enough that he knew who I was. He was one of the kindest and friendliest older men I have met, a great representative of the Mark Trammell Quartet and, more broadly, of Southern Gospel.

Update (6:57 PM): Update from Mark Trammell:

It is with a broken heart that we announce the passing of our driver, Walter Bohannon.  He and his wife Betty were on the way to pick up the bus to take it for maintenance work when they stopped to put fuel in their car.  Betty states “We were waiting in line to get fuel.  Walter had put the car in park and I heard him take a funny sounding breath.  When I looked toward him, his head was laid back on the head rest and I knew he was gone.”

Walter and Betty had a quartet of their own for many years in the Gadsden, Alabama area.  Walter was the bass singer.  He LOVED this music as much as anyone could.

The quartet arrived home at 4 a.m. (CST) this morning from Arkansas and Walter was his normal jovial self.  It just reminds all of us that no man knows when his time here is over and that we should always be ready to meet God.  Walter was a milk man for 41 years before retiring to a “simpler life” of driving the bus. But driving the bus was the least of his attributes.  He was a great mentor to the young men around him as well as a wonderful friend to literally thousands of fans across the world.

Walter’s favorite song of recent years was on the new quartet recording.  Its ironic that the first verse says “Some day this stammering tongue will falter no more.  And a grander sweeter song I shall sing.  For I’ll join the ransomed choir on heavens bright shore, forever to praise the King.  God must have needed a bass singing, bus driving milk man in heaven today.  Walter will be greatly missed…as Mark says “They just don’t make Men of that caliber anymore.”

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3 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I met Walter when I was a young teenager. He and his sweet wife Betty sang in their quartet, The Gadsden Gospelaires. I sang in a local trio and Walter was always a huge encouragement to me. His contagious personality continued to inspire people as he traveled the country with Mark. Our prayers are with Betty and the family. Our loss is Heaven’s gain!

  2. I recall at NQC in 2008 when Mark led a Bible Study based on the scripture Psalms 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. I enjoyed his teaching very much. After that time he introduced us to some music and we met his bus driver. A great bass singer he was. He will be missed. Heaven has a new angel today.

  3. Walter Bohannon came into my life in 1967. At the age of 19, I became the first bass guitar player for the Gospelaires Quartet. Over the years he has remained one of the greatest male influences in my life. He was the epitome of love, compassion, generosity, honesty and faithfulness. He taught me so many wonderful lessons of life and was always ready to listen, For the past 4-5 years, our lives have newed a special bond and we have talked at least once a month, sometimes just a quick “I Love You’, but that’s all we needed to say. As one of his favorite songs “COME SPRING” states, He’s gone where angels sing, Earth’s loss is Heaven gain, but we’ll meet when God gathers flowers, Come Spring. Another wonderful lyric sums it all up –“Heaven Is Sweeter Because You’re There.” Farewell my precious friend, mentor, confidant and encourager. Save me a spot with your next quartet!!!