Ben Speer, legendary member of the Speer Family, SGMA and GMA Hall of Famer and President of the Stamps-Baxter School Of Music, has passed away. He died on April 7th at 12:52 a.m. after a battle with Alzheimer's Disease. He was 86 years old.
The following is from his wife Rebekah's Facebook page: "I'm so broken hearted to tell everyone that Ben left me this morning at 12:52a.m.. I will have details and arrangements as soon as I can. I'll be turning my phone over to my mama for those trying to reach me. I'm exhausted and everything feels and looks so different and empty without him by my side. I loved him with all my heart and half on [sic] me is gone forever."
Speer sang for The Speer Family for most of his career. He later became a leader of the Gaither Homecoming Southern Gospel music programs. His parents were Lena and G.T. Speer (affectionately known as "Mom" and "Dad" Speer to most people in Southern Gospel music), who originally led the group, with Speer's siblings Brock Speer, Mary Tom Speer, and Rosa Nell Speer also participating.
The Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame's website noted his technical accomplishments as follows: "Ben chose experimenting with sound equipment as a hobby. He has excelled in this field and is often used as a consultant for sound by his colleagues in gospel music." As owner and chief engineer of Ben Speer Recording Studios, he has produced albums by the Florida Boys, Ivan Parker, The Weatherfords and others. Speer began publishing Southern Gospel music in 1950, founding the Ben Speer Music Company. Among songs published by the company are "What a Day That Will Be," "I'm Standing on the Solid Rock," and "Touring that City."
In 1995, Speer was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame, the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor in 2002.
The family of Ben Speer has shared funeral arrangements for the beloved Southern Gospel personality:
Visitation will be Monday, April 10, from 4-7 p.m. at Woodlawn Funeral Home on Thompson Lane.
Visitation prior to service at First Church of the Nazarene located on Woodland & Fifth starting on Tuesday, April 11, 11 a.m.
Service will begin at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, with burial at 3:30 p.m. at the Woodlawn Cemetery also on Thompson Lane.