Brock Speer Dies at 78
Brock Speer, patriarch of the legendary Southern gospel group The Speer Family, died on March 30 at Baptist Hospital in Nashville. He was 78. Speer earned countless honors and awards and is known for singing on Elvis Presley recordings and performing for former president Jimmy Carter.
A past president, chairman of the board and a permanent board member of the Gospel Music Association, Speer was well-known for his leadership. For his contributions he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1975, his 50th year of singing gospel music; the Speer Family was inducted as a group last year. Speer was tapped in 1997 for membership in the Southern Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame.
"Ours is an age in a drought of role models," GMA Chaplain Darrell A. Harris told THE CCM UPDATE. "Although we rejoice at the home going of our elder brother and dear friend, we grieve not only because we will miss him personally, [but] we also grieve because the earth has lost some of its salt."
"I’ve always thought of Brock Speer as... straight as an arrow and right on target with all of his dealings," said Don Butler, former executive director of the GMA. "He... had more integrity and honesty about him than anyone I have ever known."
Speer sang with his family his entire life—documented on some 70 albums—with only one interruption, World War II. Combined, the Speers have earned 14 Dove Awards and seven Grammy nominations.
"When I started my career in gospel music, Brock Speer was the very first person I met," said Bill Traylor, CEO of Southern gospel label Homeland Entertainment. "His life has been influential upon my own through his statements of wisdom, comfort, assurance and encouragement."