Please keep in your thoughts and prayers, Stephen Hill and Stuart Swanlund’s families in their sadness at the loss of their loved ones’. MAY STEPHEN’S AND STUART’S SOUL’S REST IN THE PEACEFUL ARMS OF OUR BLESSED LORD.
Stephen Hill, a gospel singer and songwriter who regularly appeared in Bill & Gloria Gaither’s popular “Homecoming” series of videos, CDs and concerts, died Sunday, Aug. 5, after a massive heart attack. He was 55. Mr. Hill, who taught at Ben Speer’s Stamps Baxter School of Music in Nashville, was in Lumberton, N.C. for a concert at Antioch Baptist Church, when he suffered the attack. He performed Friday, Aug. 3, during the “Gospel Legends Reunion” at Goodlettsville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.News of Mr. Hill’s death spread quickly Sunday evening through a shocked community of friends and musicians.“Stephen was an incredible, gentle man whose presence filled a room,” posted gospel singer Sheri Easter on her Twitter account. Multi-instrumentalist Rebekah Longposted on Facebook, “What a great and passionate, loving soul we have lost.”Raised in upstate South Carolina, Mr. Hill was known to audiences for his powerful and versatile tenor voice, and to friends as a man of kindness and humor whose favorite quotes came from sources as disparate as Andy Griffith, Ernest Hemingway, Jesus Christ, General Stonewall Jackson and the character of Carl Childers from the movie“Sling Blade.” Over three decades in music, he collaborated with notables including Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Vern Gosdin, Charlie Louvin, Dottie Rambo, Sam Moore, Marie Osmond and Nancy Sinatra. Three days prior to his death, Mr. Hill went online and wrote of his own faith, “We can’t judge, and that’s hard. Loving people doesn’t mean changing them. That’s even harder. I hope He gives me a break when I see Him face to face. I also hope that He forgives the mistakes I make in my zeal. Love and forgiveness.”Mr. Hill is survived by wife Kathy Hill and children Melody, Miriam and Caleb.
Marshall Tucker Band guitarist Stuart Swanlund dies at age 54
Publicist Don Murry Grubbs said that the guitarist died in his sleep of natural causes Saturday at his Chicago home. Mr. Swanland joined the band in 1985 after it had split up and regrouped. He was the longest running member of the group except for founding member Doug Gray. Mr. Swanlund performed during The Marshall Tucker Band’s debut on the “Grand Ole Opry” in November at Ryman Auditorium, and he considered it one of the highlights of his time with the group, according to Gray.“He recently took a hiatus from the road due to health problems and even with those issues, Stuart’s enthu siasm onstage never waivered. Our thoughts and prayers are with Stuart’s family and those who knew him,” said Gray in a press release. “We have lost a great friend.” The group is best known for its 1977 Top 40 hit “Heard It In a Love Song.” Their sound is a blend of rock, country and gospel. Mr. Swanlund’s funeral will take place Saturday at the Good Shepherd Memorial Park in Boiling Springs, S.C. He’s survived by his sister, three grandchildren, a son, William “Billy” Swanlund, and his lifelong partner, Stacey Schmaren.
— Associated Press