Stephen Hill Passes Away; Funeral Arrangements Announced

ORIGINAL POST, SUNDAY, 10:04 P.M.: Several Southern Gospel performers, including Jeff & Sheri Easter, Karen Peck Gooch, and Shawn Degenhart (who performed with Hill in the Heritage Harmony Quartet), are reporting that soloist Stephen Hill passed away suddenly today after a heart attack. He was in Lumberton, North Carolina for a concert at Antioch Baptist Church (Wesley Pritchard’s home church) (UPDATE: Early reports that it was Pritchard’s home church appear to be incorrect.)

Hill was best known for his Gaither Homecoming appearances as a soloist. He was also on the Heritage Harmony Quartet’s debut recording, which we gave a five-star rating here.

UPDATE, 7 AM 8/6/12: The Gaither organization has officially confirmed Stephen Hill’s passing. He suffered a massive heart attack during soundcheck for yesterday evening’s concert. They added:

Stephen was a “gentle giant” with a kind, soft-spoken nature and a tenor voice as versatile as it was beautiful. He had a sincere heart for people and for sharing the hope of Christ with audiences throughout his career. He was dearly loved by his friends, family and the music community. 

Stephen is survived by his wife, Kathy, and their three children, Melody, Miriam, and Caleb.

UPDATE, 8:58 AM, 8/7/12: Funeral plans, via Woody Wright on Facebook:

I hope everyone will make plans to be with us on Monday August 13 at Grace Church of the Nazarene near Opryland in Nashville at 1 PM. Kathy, Melody, Miriam and Caleb appreciate your prayers as they deal with the shock and grief of this sudden, unexpected tragedy. They have asked for a great celebration of Stephen’s extraordinary life.

UPDATE, 9:25 PM, 8/7/12: Updated time for service: The funeral will be at 3:00 pm Monday, August 13; visitation will be (before) 1:00-3:00pm.

About Daniel J. Mount

Daniel Mount has written 3192 posts.

Daniel J. Mount is the founder and editor of Southern Gospel Journal.


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58 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Our condolences to the Hill family. Stephen will join that magnificent choir in Heaven. He has been such a blessing to our Church at Bethel Free Will Baptist, Brilliant, AL. We are grieving with the family.

    Stephen was a true musician and soloist. His acoustic guitar and soulful songs have touched so many and brought many to the Lord. He shall be greatly missed.
    Gracie Franks

  2. Where can I get a CD of the Heritage Harmony Quartet?

    • Google Harmony Heritage Quartet–I have put in a request for info on GospelFestMinisttries. Also, Amazon.com. They have everything. DId you know who Stephen Hill was? How did you get on this website? You are aware Mr. Hill died, aren’t you? Just thought I’d throw that in there. Hope you’re having a good day.

  3. Such a shock to all of us at the Ben Speer’s Stamps Baxter School of Music where he was a faculty member and mentor to so many. His honesty, talent, wit and generous heart made him a favorite. It’s hard for me to believe that he’s gone. I’m blessed to have known him. My prayers go out to his family.
    Linda Barnhill
    Administrator-Ben Speer’s Stamps Baxter School of Music

    • Loved hearing Stephen singing with the Heritage Harmony Quartet on their Gospel Echoes project. Shawn Degenhart put this quartet together and what a beautiful job of singing “Treasures from the Stamps Quartet Music Company.” Any serious collector of all things Southern Gospel should have this CD!!! It is awesome. Hope Shawn will do more of these projects.

      Pauline Thompson
      Texas Southern Gospel School of Music, Inc.
      Secretary, Board of Directors

      • Sad to learn of Stephen Hill passing on. Had grown to love his way of starting his song; low, low. and then higher, higher, … before he stood to climb highest, the audience were already on fire craving for more of the song. He has caused many to come to the Lord. Surely, the heavenly choir has gained such an icon of soul music. Mwaura Joseph,Kenya

  4. Of all the singers who were relatively unknown before Bill Gaither’s Homecoming videos made them household names, Stephen Hill was my favorite.

  5. we are so sad for the loss of our friend Steven Hill and the passing from this ole world,we are sad that his young man of God is gone and we pray for his family and for god to put his arms of love around them.
    he will be greatly missed.

  6. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Hill family. I think I have about all the Gaither Videos and always enjoys listening to Stephrn sing, he had a special voice.

  7. I never had a mentor before I met Stephen Hill, but I’ll never forget him saying “Son, you’re behind belongs to me, and as your mentor, I’ll kick it until it gets into gear.” I felt so honored to have been selected by him for whatever reason to be mentored, and tonight my heart is very heavy. I loved him, and I’ll miss him, and can’t wait to see him again.

  8. Gaither Music has now issued a release confirming Stephen Hill’s passing. Our prayers go out to his family and his Homecoming Familu as well.

  9. My husband would never listen to gospel singing until he heard Stephen on one of my Gaither DVD’s and was totally amazed at the talent. I have grown up in the music field and know talent when I hear it and Stephen had a God given talent that some will never have. I know Stephen is in a better place and I pray his family and friends have Jesus to lean on through this ordeal.

  10. This was such a tragic shock. I was apart of the service on Sunday Morning that Was led by Stephen Hill. He led our choir in singing O Happy Day and then It is Well With my Soul. After service, my family spoke with him and my husband and son talked with him about playing the guitar. My son hung around longer to chat with him. We went back for the 6 o’clock service and met him going out the door. I figured he had forgotten something in his vehicle but later learned he was having chest pains and was going to get checked. The paramedics were called Nd I understand he died on the way to the hospital. Stephen Hill was a great singer who will be missed by all but I know he is singing O Happy Day with the Heavenly Choir and enjoying being in the presence of the Lord. My prayers go out to his family.

  11. A unique talent in gospel music…he will be missed.

  12. Stephen and I attended high school together and performed together in my first public performances. I know that he has earned his wings and God was ready for him in that “Heavenly Choir”. RIP my friend and one of the finest musician-singers that I ever called friend !!! May God bless his family and comfort them during this passage and forever.

  13. i woke up this morning to hear the most shocking news, my friend of many years had passed away. i have known Stephen since his teen years and he has always been a gentle soul. my mom passed away in 2005 and while in the hospital it was her birthday and Stephen came by and sang happy birthday to her,it was her last one but he made it special for her.He has touched so many hearts and lives and brought so many to the Lord.He told me that when he came by to see my mom that she got saved and that was a comfort to me. His friends have lost a true friend, the Christian family has suffered a great loss, my thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children but also to his mom,sister and brother.I believe the Lord decided Stephen was too good for this world and took him Home.even though all of us are left behind to grieve we know that Stephen is so happy to be with the Lord now and Heaven will be filled with his beautiful voice. I ask the Lord now to give comfort to his family and to the rest of us that knew and loved Stephen. Sing with the angels Stephen. you will be missed,never forgotten and always loved.

  14. I first met Stephen at the Stamps-Baxter School of Music. He became a great friend and mentor, later serving on our ministry’s advisory board. The past couple years I was privileged to co-write a couple songs with him for some of our ministry events. He was always so gracious and genuinely cared for people. We had him at our church in Morton, IL this past April and he and I had some wonderful conversations over dinner. I will cherish our friendship forever. Prayers for Kathy and the children!

  15. I only had the blessing of hearing Stephen one time at our Church Asaville Baptist Church and must say that he was a true blessing to us all. We will miss you Stephen Hill.

  16. I’m schocked by the death of Stephan Hill.
    In Holland he sang several times.
    We will mis him
    The Lord bless his family and all the people who loved his music.

  17. Stephen Hill was a great man. I met him 8 years ago at the Stamps Baxter School of Music, and have enjoyed his friendship over the years. He was truly a gifted man of God, who inspired many of us along the way. I was deeply saddened to hear of his loss. Stephen was a musical giant in my opinion; he will be forever missed.

  18. I started my day hearing of Steven’s passing. He is singing a song that the angels cannot sing. What a talent .He will be missed so . I sang in a group at the Legends concert with Steven , Armond , Jim Murry and Donnie Sumner . It will always be a special time in my life ….. We’ll sing again one day ….. God be with family and friends…….

  19. RIP Stephen Hill 1 Tes 4:16, The dead in Christ shall rise first. He is just asleep. Soon we will see him again, when Jesus comes. Lovely Promise =D

  20. I always looked forward to a feature from Stephen on the Gaither Videos and concerts. He was a wonderful talent. He will be missed!

  21. Very sad to hear this, but it won’t be long until we see him again. Jesus is coming back very soon. It could even happen today. I’m looking forward to no more sickness and pain and we will be with our Lord and loves ones forever.

  22. So sorry to hear that. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  23. I was going to say almost verbatim what Shelby said. Definitely praying for the family.

  24. So sorry to hear of the passing of such a great Singer, He always gave his time,talent and soul for the work
    of the Lord. My God surround his family at this time.

    Brent\Mark /Jeff/ Byrant

  25. today i left a comment about the passing of my dear friend Stephen. I had never had the good fortune to meet his wife and children but i have had the pleasure of meeting his mom and Cathy and sid. my heart is so heavy with sadness not for Stephen but for his family and friends.I believe if there was ever anyone that would be going to Heaven it would be Stephen.not to long ago Stephen and i were emailing one another about some things that were bothering me and finally we spoke on the phone and the answers he gave to me brought a peaceful calm feeling to me.i had him on my mind over the weekend and had planned to call or email him my regret is that i didn’t. i can’t imagine the pain his family is going through but i do know with the loss of such a kind,gentle,loving soul tonight my heart is hurting for the loss of my friend.to kathy,melody,miriam,caleb, mrs. hill, cathy and sid my heart goes out to you all,my thoughts and prayers go out to you and i know God will comfort you and help you find some peace during these difficult times. each of us are better people because Stephen touched us and because he touched our lives. i will always remember my friend and his beautiful voice will forever be heard. thank you kathy for sharing your wonderful husband with all of us. God Bless each of you. gerri “eller” ivie

  26. We were introduced to Stephen through the Gaither Homecoming Concerts on TV and then in concert here in Dallas, TX. I followed his tour dates and when he appeared at a church nearby in Arlington, TX we went and deeply appreciated his Christian testimony, his music, and his truly gentle spirit. We purchased a CD of Stephen’s music which he signed and I shall value that memory of his music and the gift God gave Stephen for a very long time. We will pray for Stephen’s family and friends as we all mourn his passing.

    Marshall and Vanice

  27. We love and enjoyed Stephen music, and was so glad we could bring him to Iowa For two concerts
    We had him at our church Flint Hills Church of the Nazarene in Burlington Iowa and we had a concert at the Memorial Auditorium, in Burlington Iowa
    He eat his first Buffalo burger, Mediapolis iowa, and said it was one of the best burgers he had ate
    We enjoyed out mments with hin, also got to be on a cruise with him and his family
    He was agiant of a singer, to Gospel music,
    Oh how he will be missed
    Our prayers are for him and his family
    God we knows has one of the best tenor sing in heaven

    Don & Judy Gaylord
    New London, Iowa

  28. Stephen has left a footprint in d sand of time.may ur gentle soul RIP.May God comfort d entire family n all

  29. I am shocked and very very sad to learn of Stephen.s passing. Beth and I are praying for Kathy and the children. Thanks Stephen for your inspiration to me a gospel soloist here in Toronto. I’ve had the honour of singing in South Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Jamaica, Canada and the US and you have been my inspiration in so many ways.
    Heaven just got a little sweeter with George, Glen, Anthony, Jessy, Dotty Vestel and now Stephen- I just can’t wait to be there. Rest in peace my dear brother, rest in peace. God bless you all, and let’s all be ready!

  30. When we heard the news of Steve’s passing our hearts just broke. Jimmy & Stephen played music together for many years before Steve & Kathy moved to Nashville. Even in his youth Steve was such a sweet, special, straight-up guy. Always true to his wife & family. No wonder God made him such a Great Big guy, to hold all that Great Big Talent and that Great Big Heart Words cannot express the love & true respect we both shared for Stephen. This world has lost a beautiful soul , but Heaven has surely gained one. We will never forget him & how blessed we were to have known him Our deepest heartfelt prayers to Kathy, the children & all of Stephen’s family. All Our Love…Jimmy & Debbie Sipes

    • The first I heard of Steve’s passing was yesterday (08-23). Shortly after my 2008 return to my hometown here in Mannington, WV, roughly 25 years after the Manor, I was entering a grocery store and saw his face on a poster. He and Woody Wright were doing the “Spirit of Christmas” concert about a mile from my home. It was good to see him again. Jimmy, I hope all is well with you and Debbie and I want you to know that you personally have made a positive impact upon my life and I ask that God will bless you both… Dee Reynolds

    • We all shared some good times back in the day. I remember spending a lot of time with Stephen and Jimmy back in the day. It was a real loss for all. it was a real shock to us all when we got the phone call last August that Stephen had passed on. Hoe you and Jimmy are doing good these days. Tracy Eller

  31. Condolences to all of the friends, family. and the many of us he touched with his music.

  32. My brother went home to be with the Lord in 2007,he is rejoicing with Stephen,he would call and invite me to his home to watch the Gather video, we loved hearing Stephen sing.This is heartbreaking.

  33. I meet Stephen about seven years ago and feel in love with hoist music and his love for the Lord. He was with us at Lee Station Baptist just three weeks ago. We had such a great time togather. We have lost a great friend. He would call just to see how things are going. What a great friend we will miss him so Mich.

  34. PRAYING FOR THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS.STEPHEN WAS AN INSPARIATION TO ALL WHO HEARD HIS MUSIC AND TESTOMONY.HE CAME TO OUR CHURCH,ALSO WAS THERE WITH WOODY WRIGHT.IN FAIRMONT WV.THEY BOTH CME TO A SMALL CHURCH AND DIDNT ASK FOR A SERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEYHE WAS LOVED BY MANY AND WILL BE MISSED.WE WILL LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING HIM AGAIN IN HEAVEN.AS STEPHEN WOULD ASK.ARE YOU READY TO MEET JESUS.IF NOT HE LOVES YOU ND IS WAITING TO FORGIVE YOU OF ALL YOUR SINS.

  35. i enjoyed hearing stephen and lillie knolls sing together

  36. I am so sorry to hear about Stephen Hill passing. He came to my church, Ridgecrest Baptist Church last August for a concert. I enjoyed singing O Happy Day, with him and my choir. He had such a wonderful sweet voice that sure will be missed. I have also enjoyed watching him on Bill Gaither’s tv program for a long time. My prayers go out for his family.

  37. we missed stephen hill, but i m happy very soon we will see him in lord’s hill (zion).

  38. Did Stephen have any health problems or issues? Just wondering. He is in the Lord’s hands indeed forever!

    • Shelby’s comments are somewhat strange in the extreme. Sadly Stephen had a problem that prematurely took his life. May he rest in peace in Glory

  39. Many prayers for Stephen’s wife and children.. we so loved to hear Stephen
    sing.. what a wonderful legacy he has left you and all of us that loved him.. our hearts hurt with the
    loss of this dear man but we will all ‘cross that bridge’ one day and will
    all be reunited .. thank you Jesus for this wonderful servant that shared his
    life and talent with so many…
    Our sincere love and sympathy to each of you..

  40. So enjoyed meeting and working with Mr. Hill on the Gaither Homecoming tapings. He was a wonderful singer and is just one more added to that heavenly choir with Vestel, Howard, Eva Mae and so many others. Prayers going up for the family!!!

  41. We were shocked to hear of Mr. Hill’s passing. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends. He sang at our church, New Beverly Baptist in Knoxville, Tn., on July 15th. We received such a blessing and he was truly talented Our church enjoyed worshipping with him and praising the Lord. Without a doubt, he is singing with the angels honoring God right now.

  42. What a great gentle giant man of God!

  43. To the family of Stephen….my condolences to you all at the passing of this wonderful, talented, unbelievable man! I am heartbroken. I had so hoped to meet him one day and tell him how much his music has meant to me and my husband. He will be missed by family and millions of friends. We love you Stephen. Sincerely and in Sympathy…Carol

  44. I truly loved Stephan singing. I never met him but I could tell he had such a piece about him… My prayers go out to his family. I have his music downloaded on my iPod. So when I go for walks I can hear his music. We will see him again….

  45. Stephen Hill has been such a blessing in his song ministry. Ive really enjoyed listening to the songs he sung. We’ve lost and heaven has gained!!! All that he lived for and ministered has now become a reality -Beholding our blessed saviours face . Our sincere and deep condolences to the family and loved ones. Stay strong !! – you will see Stephen again – until then hold on to the faith……….

  46. I was very saddened by the sudden passing of Stephen Hill. Just think Stephen Hill and Jessy Dixon in Heaven singing right now. Our loss Heaven’s gain……

  47. I just today heard about Stephen’s sudden death. My sympathies to his family, friends and fellow Gaither singers. I was watching a video of Stephen performing “Lead Me To The Rock” on Youtube when I saw a comment below the video on his passing. What a celebration that performance was! I would hope that Stephen’s joy in singing those great gospel songs would be a comfort to all those who knew and loved him. His beautiful voice is a sound I’ll always treasure.

  48. Sincere condolences to the family from your friends in England. Although we never met, we felt we knew Stephen by his genuine, sincere and heart-felt Christian Spirit which came over so clearly on the videos. May God bless you all.

  49. jan.26, 2013–today I was going to look up Stephen hill to see if I could find the lyrics to the song that he sang on the Gaithers and needless to say, I was in shock to know that Stephen had passed away. my husband and I were very fond of Stephen and we will never forget him. our love and prayers are with the family. GOD BLESS YOU ALL. we have several dvd’s with Stephen so we will still be able to listen to him. such a wonderful man. we will see you again soon Stephen and I want you to sing us a song.

  50. He was an inspiration to me. Thank u for the music. RIP.

  51. Stephen Hill has been with the Lord for nearly 9 months now. I listen to Gaither Music on a daily basis. I still find it hard to beleive that Stephen has passed over. He is now happy with the Lord. and many dear friends that he sang with for so many wonderful years!

  52. As I sit and read over all the comments that everyone has left for Stephen, makes me reflect on all of the memories of this wonderful person that I have. I will never forget my first meeting with Stephen over 40yrs ago. I was a little tyke when we met I guess 8 or 9 yrs old. For some strange reason even at that young age our friendship begin, and carried on until last August.
    As the yrs carried on Stephen became more like a brother to me than just a friend. I remember when I found out me and my wife were having a son, I called Stephen and was letting him in on the news , and before we hung up, I told him I was going to name him Stephen, If he didn’t mind me naming him after you. I will never forget the words he said to me he said ” Son I would be honored, for you to name him after me”.
    Stephen was a friend and a brother. and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him. I know that is nothing compared to what Kathy and their children feel.
    Thanks for ALWAYS being a friend, and brother. I will never forget all the good and bad times that we shared all the years.
    Tracy Eller