Today, the blog received word from both Shane Steward-Cowan and former member of the Clara Ward Singers and The Stars of Faith, Rev. "Lady" Esther Ford, that Frances Steadman of the Mary Johnson Davis Gospel Singers, The Clara Ward Specials, The Clara Ward Singers and later The Stars of Faith has passed. Steadman died early this Thanksgiving morning at the age of 94. Steadman began her recording career in 1949 with the Mary Johnson Davis Gospel Singers. In 1950, Steadman became a member of The Clara Ward Specials and was recording with the Clara Ward Singers by 1952. In August 1958, Steadman left the Clara Ward Singers along with Marion Williams, Henrietta Waddy, Kitty Parham, and Esther Ford to form The Stars of Faith. Steadman's daughter, Sadie Frances Keys joined the group during the 1960s. Steadman remained with The Stars of Faith into the 1990s and in 2003 at the age of 88, married a past sweetheart and moved to Baltimore. The viewing and funeral will be on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at Howell Funeral Home on Liberty Heights Avenue in Baltimore. The viewing time will be from 11am-6pm, and the funeral will begin at 6pm. For more information, contact Howell Funeral Home. See this link for contact info: Howell Funeral Home
Bob Marovich will pay tribute to Steadman during his "Gospel Memories" program on Chicago's WLUW 88.7 FM on December 5, 2009 from 10-11am CST. See www.gospelmemories.com for info on how to listen live via the Internet if you're not in Chicago, and for how to obtain the Podcast in the days following the original broadcast should you miss it. In the meanwhile, check out these YouTube videos featuring Frances Steadman.
The Golden Era Gospel Blog has learned from Bob Marovich of The Black Gospel Blog that Johnny Fields, one of the founding members of The Five Blind Boys of Alabama has passed. Fields died in Henderson, North Carolina at the Maria Parham Medical Center on Thursday, November 12, 2009. Information about Fields's funeral service will be posted as it becomes available.