Celebrating Women’s History Month #10

Hymn Writer Gloria Gaither
by Dean McIntyre

Gloria Sickal grew up in Michigan, the daughter of a pastor. She graduated from high school in Battle Creek and briefly worked for Kellogg. She was a triple major (English, French, Sociology) at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, where she graduated and took a position teaching high school French. There she met Bill Gaither, who was teaching English. They married in 1962 and began writing songs together. Within a few years Gloria, Bill, and Bill's brother Danny joined together and toured as the Bill Gaither Trio. In recent years, Gloria has been active in the Gaither Homecoming series of concerts and recordings. In 1991, she earned a Master of Arts in Literature at Ball State University. In 2002, she received an honorary doctorate from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has received four Dove Awards and one Grammy and was elected into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1996.

Bill Gaither’s first hit song was "He Touched Me" in 1964. (See Hymn Study: "He Touched Me.") He went on to write other songs, some with lyrics by Gloria and music by Bill; others with lyrics and music written collaboratively, including: "The Longer I Serve Him," "Because He Lives," "The King Is Coming," "Something Beautiful," "He Touched Me," "It Is Finished," "There's Something About That Name," "Let's Just Praise The Lord," "I’ve Just Seen Jesus," and "Gentle Shepherd."

The Gaithers have formed companies and partnerships over the years for music publishing, recording, artist booking, television broadcasting and retailing. Among their many awards are: ASCAP Best Gospel Song (1974, 1980); 21 gold albums, 22 platinum albums, and 2 multiplatinum albums; 30 Dove and 5 Grammy awards; Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee (1982); the "Christian Songwriter of the Century" award from the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) in 2000.

Since the 1967 decision to pursue full-time music careers, the Gaithers have published more than 700 songs, recorded 40 albums, produced 100 videos, and founded the large Gaither Music Company.

 

See more about Women's History on the Discipleship Ministries site.

Categories: Womens History Month

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