Brian Free’s mother passes away

Brian Free’s mother, Frances Free, passed away last night. Free posted on his group’s Facebook page: [EDIT, 6/18/12: Broken link removed.]

At 9:45pm est. time tonight, my precious Mom went home to be with Jesus. She’s up in heaven with my Dad. She took her last breath with a smile on her face. She must have seen the face of Jesus as he welcomed her home. Thank you all for your prayers and posts. Keep my family in your prayers. Brian

She had suffered a massive stroke several days before. Free’s father, Jim, passed away last October, so this has been a difficult season in his life.

He could not have recorded the title track of his latest CD, Never Walk Alone, at a better time:

Incidentally—well, actually, not incidentally, for God makes no mistakes—this song is actually the current #1 Singing News hit. It’s only the group’s third, joining “For God So Loved” and “Long as I Got King Jesus”—and it’s a well-crafted song that deserves to stand with those other two.

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Cornie Talley passes away; funeral arrangements

Keep the Talley family in your prayers today; Roger and Kirk Talley’s mother Cornie passed away last night. She was in a nursing home and had been in declining health for some time due to Alzheimer’s.

The visitation will be Thursday at Broome Funeral Home in Rogersville, Tennessee. Funeral services are Friday Evening at Shady Grove Free Will Baptist Church in Whitesburg, Tennessee. Lauren Talley has more information on her blog, here.

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Tony Greene funeral video to be posted online

Last night, Southern Gospel artists gathered from around the country to commemorate the life of fellow singer Tony Greene, and to comfort his wife TaRanda and their two daughters, Belle and Josie. JoyFM streamed the funeral live, but reports indicated that their traffic load was so heavy that some users were unable to load the website and access the stream. For all who could not catch it, and for all who would like to see it, the host church (First Baptist Church Indian Trail) has announced they will be posting the video on their site today, here. (EDIT, 8/3/11: Broken link removed.)

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Brian Free’s father passes away

Brian Free’s father Jim Free has been in declining health for months; Jim passed away at 2:40 yesterday morning. Brian posted on Facebook:

The Funeral arrangements for my Dad are as follows: Visitation/viewing from 4:00pm till 9:00pm tomorrow (mon). The funeral will be on Tuesday @ 11:00am. All will be at Jeff Eberhart Funeral home @ 123 Watson drive, Dallas,GA (770)445-4496. Please keep us in your prayers. Brian

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Tony Greene funeral arrangements announced

Funeral arrangements have been announced for Tony Greene, who passed away yesterday. Visitation will be next Monday, October 4, at the First Baptist Church in Indian Trail, NC, from 4 to 7 P.M. The funeral service will immediately follow at 7 PM. A graveside service will be next Tuesday at 1 PM at Westview Baptist Church in Boone, NC.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Tony Greene Medical Fund; however, as the massive influx of traffic today has crashed their site, no links have been posted for online donations yet. (UPDATE, 1 PM): Contributions can be sent to Tony Greene Medical Fund, PO Box 3046, Indian Trail, NC 28079.

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Tony Greene passes away; obituary

Tony Greene of the Greenes passed away at 4:30 this afternoon. He was removed from a ventilator around noon, and word inaccurately spread that he had passed away then; he actually kept breathing for several hours. But at 2:00, his brother-in-law Dean Hopper said that it was a “matter of time.” Hopper added that friends and family, including Gerald Wolfe, Amy Lambert, and, of course Dean and Kim Hopper and TaRanda Greene joined Tony in the hospital during his final hours to “sing him into glory.”

Greene grew up in Boone, North Carolina. He started singing with his brother Tim, sister Kim, and father Everette in 1979. Though they made their first recording together in 1980, they did not come to national prominence until the later ’80s, by that point as a sibling trio. Kim left in 1989 to join her husband, Dean Hopper, in the Hoppers; she was replaced by Amy Lambert, and later by Milena Parks. Tony’s future spouse, TaRanda Greene, came on board the Greenes’ bus in 1998. Tony and TaRanda dated for some time; he memorably proposed on the NQC Mainstage about ten years ago (NQC 1999?), and she said yes. Their collaboration over the last twelve years brought many new fans to the group.

He is survived by his wife, TaRanda Greene, and two daughters, Isabella (Belle), age 6, and Jocelyn (Josie), age 2 1/2. He is also survived by his brother Tim Greene, and his sister Kim Greene Hopper, and their families.

Funeral arrangements are here.

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Priscilla McGruder passes away

Priscilla McGruder’s record company (Zion Music Group) posted on her Facebook page this afternoon that she has passed away: “Our beloved Priscilla has won the race, received her reward and is seeing it all from Heaven’s Point of View! Thank you all so much for love, prayers and support! We love you! Beverly McManus.”

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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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