Vestal Goodman (December 13, 1929 - December 27, 2003)
Vestal Goodman, known by millions as "The Queen of Gospel Music", was reared in the rich Gospel Music tradition around Sand Mountain. She began singing as a child in church in her home state of Alabama. The multi-award winning group performed together until the early 1980's when they disbanded due to health reasons. Vestal and Howard's career was revived in the early 1990's when they began to appear on Bill Gaither's "Homecoming" series of gospel music videos and the subsequent tours that followed. She recorded several solo projects which included duets with the likes of George Jones and Dolly Parton.
She was distinguished by her strong powerful voice which told a story in itself because she had a soft singing voice until at a revival one night she had to sing without a PA system because of the terrible storm and suddenly Vestal found a new strong powerful voice that God had given her. Vestal reached the tops of the Southern Gospel Music industry with the Happy Goodmans' popular rise in the mid-1980s.
Howard Goodman met Vestal Freeman, an aspiring Opera singer and sister of noted gospel tenor vocalist Cat Freeman, in 1949. They began singing and traveling together and spent the rest of their lives singing and promoting Southern Gospel Music. They were married for 53 years. Howard and Vestal Goodman along with Howard's brothers Sam Goodman and Rusty Goodman, became known as the Happy Goodman Family. The Happy Goodman Family were regulars on the Sunday Morning broadcast of the Gospel Singing Jubilee.
Vestal received several Singing News Fan Awards and was inducted into the GMA Hall Of Fame and the SGMA Hall Of Fame.
She is buried in Christ Church Memorial Gardens in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA.
1971 Hallelujah! (Canaan Records/CAS-9696): If God Is Dead; Jesus Take A Hold; Reach Out To Jesus; Who Am I; Searching; Clinging To A Saving Hand; Till The Storm Passes By; Teach Me Thy Way; In The Sweet By And By; It'll All Be Over But The Shoutin.