Ernie Ford, gospel singer, dies at 72"Tennessee Ernie...


October 18, 1991|By Los Angeles Times @ Lyda V. Sauter Church organist

Ernie Ford, gospel singer, dies at 72

"Tennessee Ernie" Ford, the beloved pop and gospel balladeer whose recording of "Sixteen Tons" became a mantra for the blue-collar workers of the world, died yesterday. He was 72.

Mr. Ford had been hospitalized for a liver ailment since Sept. 28 in Reston, Va. A resident of Northern California, he had been in Washington for a White House state dinner.

One of the few entertainers to headline his own shows on both daytime and prime-time television, Mr. Ford also will be remembered as one of the first country artists to cross over into popular, commercial music. "Ol' Ern" was born Ernest Jennings Ford in Bristol, Tenn., where he spent much of his boyhood listening to country and gospel singers and hanging around the local radio station.

In 1937 he was hired there as a $10-a-week announcer and his broadcast voice was deemed so promising that he went to study for a year at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

His first record was his own composition, "Shotgun Boogie," and he never looked back. That hit was followed by "Mule Train," "Cry of the Wild Goose," "Davy Crockett" and in 1955, "Sixteen Tons."

A bluegrass tune written by Merle Travis, "Sixteen Tons" was a paean to the frustrations of coal mining:

You load sixteen tons and what do you get?

Another day older and deeper in debt.

St. Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go,

I owe my soul to the company store.

It became the fastest-selling record ever, at that time: a million copies in three weeks and more than 5 million to date.

Mr. Ford recorded more than 80 albums. His gospel albums sold nearly 25 million copies. He earned a Grammy for "Great Gospel Songs" in 1964 and was nominated for seven others. He also was nominated for two Emmys for his television work.

In 1984, President Reagan awarded him the Medal of Freedom.

Services for Lyda V. Sauter, a retired school cafeteria manager who was organist and treasurer of the Gary Memorial United Methodist Church, will be held at 11 a.m. today at the church on Daniels Road in Daniels.

Mrs. Sauter, who was 80, died Sunday of circulatory illness at her home on Dogwood Road in Woodlawn.

She retired in 1982 after 20 years as manager of the cafeteria at the Hebbville Elementary School.

For 28 years, she has been the organist at the church, of which she was a member for 65 years and treasurer for 17.

A native of Carroll County, the former Lyda Vaughn was reared in Daniels.

L Her husband, Earl H. Sauter, a retired farmer, died in 1973.

She is survived by a son, Wayne E. Sauter of Randallstown; a daughter, Patricia A. Kasper of Manchester; and six grandchildren.

Betty C. V. Joachim

Home economist

A memorial service for Betty Cain Van Atta Joachim, a former Lochearn resident with a flair for the arts who worked as a home economist and social worker, will be held at 2 p.m. today at the All Saints-of-the-Desert Episcopal Church in Sun City, Ariz.

Mrs. Joachim, who was 80 and lived in Sun City since 1977, died Monday at a hospital there after a stroke.

The former Betty Cain was a native of Felton, Del., and a graduate of Western Maryland College. She lived in Lochearn and worked as a home economist for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. before moving in the late 1950s to Pittsburgh and later to Cleveland. She worked as a home economist and a social worker in those cities.

Her first husband, Richard Keve Van Atta, died in 1975. Her second husband, Joseph L. Joachim, died last January.

A founder of the Sun City Art Museum and author of two books of poetry, she was active in other groups in Sun City and did needlework for "The Dinner Party," an artistic display by Judy Chicago, honoring the achievements of women.

She is survived by two daughters, Kathryn Mikus of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jeanne Van Atta of Cleveland; three sons, Joseph D. Joachim of Farmington Hills, Mich., and Gary R. and Richard E. Joachim of Phoenix; 17 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the Sun City Art Museum or to Through the Flower, P.O. Box 8138, Santa Fe, N.M., for a permanent home for "The Dinner Party," which it owns.

Claudia G. Logan

Financial aid director

Services for Claudia G. Logan, a former Baltimore resident and director of student financial aid at Longwood College in Farmville, Va., will be held at noon today at the People's Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington.

Mrs. Logan, who was 41 and lived in Farmville, died there Sunday of cancer.

At Longwood College since 1989, she had worked in financial aid Coppin State College and the University of Baltimore during the previous ten years. She had earlier worked at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pa., and at the Montgomery County (Pa.) Community College. In addition, she had served as a consultant to the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J.

Mrs. Logan was a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and other professional groups.

Born in Washington and a graduate of Cleveland High School, the former Claudia Galloway first came to Baltimore as a student, earning her bachelor's degree at Coppin State College. She later did graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University.

At Coppin, she was an honorary member and an adviser to Delta Tau sorority and at Longwood, she helped to start a chapter of Iota Phi Lambda business sorority.

She is survived by two sons, Michael Robinson and Brian Logan, both of Farmville; her parents, George and Barbara Galloway of Washington; a sister, Carol Hurley of Farmville; and her maternal grandmother, Arcellia Garnett of Washington.

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