Gospel Music Pioneer Vestal Goodman Dies

( [email protected] ) Dec 29, 2003 11:38 AM EST

Vestal Goodman, a pioneering gospel music singer, died Saturday at the age of 74 in Celebratio,FL, as reported by funeral officials and her Web site.

She became known through The Happy Goodman Family act in which she was involved with her late husband, Howard Goodman since 1949 up until the late 1990's. The couple assumed the role as lead vocals while Rusty Goodman played bass and Sam Goodman, the baritone. The act secured them a place in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998 after they had recorded 15 No.1 gospel music songs and performed at over 3,500 concerts.

The Happy Goodman Family were the first members of "The Gospel Singing Jubilee" which was the first of its kind, a pioneer in gospel music broadcasting during the 60's through TV programming and earning airtime on more than 100 U.S. stations.

From 1995-1998, the Goodmans were consistently featured on "The PTL Club" television show starring Jim and Tammy Bakkers.

Vestal has won several awards as Best Female Gospel Vocalist, and also received the Gospel Music Association's 1969 award as Best Female Vocalist Of The Year.

In 1973, artist Tanya Goodman-Price and tenor Johnny Cook were added to the Goodman act.

The cause of death is unavailable and funeral arrangements are still to be arranged.