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‘Happy’ Goodman dies at 81 after 62 years in gospel music

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Howard “Happy” Goodman, the patriarch of one of gospel music’s most popular and influential groups, has died.

Goodman, 81, died Nov. 30 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Goodman began his and his family’s career in gospel music in 1940 in Alabama. Before the group retired last year with its “Final Stand” album, the Happy Goodmans had won two best-gospel performances Grammys and secured a place in the history of gospel music.

“There never has been and I don’t think there ever will be a family group with as much energy and talent as the Happy Goodmans,” said Maurice Templeton, publisher of the Singing News.

Frank Breeden, president of the Gospel Music Association, called Goodman and his wife Vestal “true ambassadors for the gospel music industry.”

“Their influence and inspiration has permeated all musical genres, making them among the most beloved in gospel music,” Breeden said. “The Happy Goodman family was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998 because their musical legacy made a difference and a lasting contribution.

“Howard Goodman was a true patriarch of a great family and a pioneer in gospel music,” Breeden added. “He was an exemplary artist, businessman, father, husband and Christian leader who inspired millions.”

Goodman’s group featured members of the Goodman family and provided the basis for two popular gospel television programs, “The Gospel Singing Jubilee” and the “Happy Goodman Family Hour.”

Goodman had recently celebrated his 81st birthday and 53rd wedding anniversary.

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