Gary McSpadden, singer, songwriter, TV personality, speaker, pastor of Faith And Wisdom Church, and longtime Branson resident, died following a battle with pancreatic cancer April 15 at the age of 77. The initial word came from a Facebook post from his wife Carol.
“As most of you know Gary and I have been in Tulsa at the Cancer Treatment Center of America,” the post stated. “Gary has been battling cancer along with other complications over the last several weeks. This has been a quick and difficult journey we have been on. We knew this week that God had a plan and his healing would be here on earth or in heaven. As of 8:40 a.m, Pastor passed peacefully surrounded by his family into the arms of God.
“Pastor Gary fought hard, finished the race and was an unbelievable man of faith. I would like to thank all the Faith and Wisdom church family and all the many friends who have prayed with us during this time. Due to extenuating circumstances with Covid 19 we are working on plans for a celebration of life at a later date.”
McSpadden had much success in the Southern gospel field, spending time with The Statesmen, The Imperials, The Oak Ridge Boys, and as a member of the Gaither Trio and the Gaither Vocal Band.
Some of his most popular songs include “Jesus Lord To Me,” “No Other But The Name of Jesus,” “Hallelujah Praise The Lamb” and more. McSpadden also served as a co-host of “PTL Today,” and also produced the “Jubilee” concert series filmed at Silver Dollar City, among others. McSpadden was also featured in and produced several live music shows in Branson.
McSpadden grew up in a musical family, his mother and father being songwriters and his father also being a pastor. He began singing in church at the age of 10, and by the time he was 18, he found himself filling in for Jake Hess of The Statesmen, who was taking a leave. Once Hess returned, McSpadden joined the Oak Ridge Quartet, who soon changed their name to the Oak Ridge Boys.
He recorded three albums with the Oaks before moving to a new group, The Imperials. This time, McSpadden found himself performing alongside Hess in this group, who were also singing backup for Elvis Presley.
The late 70s saw McSpadden join the Bill Gaither Trio with Bill And Gloria Gaither, replacing Danny Gaither. Within five years, the Gaither Vocal Band was born, featuring McSpadden, Bill Gaither, Steve Green and Lee Young as the first members.
McSpadden also began releasing solo albums during this period, as well as making several television appearances. He was even an occasional guest on “The PTL Club with Jim Bakker.” After Bakker resigned from the show, McSpadden accepted an invitation to host the program and stayed on for six months.
He remained with the Gaither Vocal Band until the late 1980s until he decided it was time to pursue his own solo career.
His Branson career took off in 1999 when he began hosting the “Gospel Jubilee” show at Silver Dollar City. As host, he featured many current popular Christian artists, and the show was broadcast every Sunday for three years.
In 2003, McSpadden joined his brother-in-law Dino Kartsonakis for the “Easter Spring Spectacular,” an annual show which took place for four years. He also opened “Southern Gospel Sundays” at the Americana Theatre in 2004.
Throughout the last two decades of his life, McSpadden focused on teaching and preaching, and was best known locally as a pastor at Faith And Wisdom Church.
He was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame, as well as the Texas Gospel Music Hall Of Fame.