Lee Roy Abernathy

Lee Roy Abernathy (1913 – 1993)
Inducted in 1997

The son of a sharecropper, Lee Roy Abernathy was one of the great teachers of Southern Gospel Music. He tutored and inspired countless gospel singers and musicians. Lee Roy was widely known for pioneering sheet music in gospel music circles and also for an innovative teaching technique, begun in 1945, his famous “Modern Gospel Piano Course By Mail.”

In addition he was a noted performer, having worked with the Atco Quartet, the Electrical Workers Quartet, the Rangers, the Homeland Harmony Quartet, the Miracle Men Quartet and as a member of Happy Two with Carrol “Shorty” Bradford.

Abernathy was also a recognized songwriter, composing such standards as “A Newborn Feeling,” “He’s a Personal Savior,” and “Everybody’s Gonna Have a Wonderful Time Up There” (Gospel Boogie).

Teacher, performer, creator, and innovator, Lee Roy Abernathy left an indelible imprint through his many contributions to the world of Southern Gospel.

Wendy Bagwell

Wendy Bagwell (1925 – 1996)
Inducted in 1997

Wendy Bagwell’s greatest legacy to the world of Southern Gospel Music was the gift of laughter.

An adept storyteller and master entertainer, Bagwell was one of the first to introduce humorous themes into Southern Gospel Music recordings.

This “entertainer’s entertainer” formed the Sunliters in 1953 following service in the United States Marine Corps. For more than four decades, the group traveled throughout the world sharing the gospel through testimony and song.

Perhaps the most memorable release from the more than 60 recordings made by Wendy and the Sunliters was the 1970 hit, “Here Come the Rattlesnakes,” distinguished as the first certifiable million seller in Southern Gospel history.

Clarice Howard "Ma" Baxter

Clarice Howard “Ma” Baxter (1898 – 1972)
Inducted in 1997

For more than four decades, Clarice Baxter worked to build and nurture one of gospel music’s most prestigious publishing companies.

Clarice developed her life-long love of sacred music while attending singing schools near her DeKalb County, Georgia home. After her marriage to J. R. Baxter in 1918, she gave up her position as a teacher to join her husband in his work with the A. J. Showalter Company.

Beginning in 1926, when the Baxters became part owners of the Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company, she joined the staff and worked for the remainder of her life as one of the key figures in both the printing operation and in the annual Stamps-Baxter School of Music.

Upon her husband’s death in 1960, Clarice assumed the mantel of President and General Manager of Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing-becoming the first woman to hold sole responsibility of such a business in the gospel music community.

Jesse Randall “J.R.” Baxter

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