Gwendolyn Lightner, 73, who as a pianist and musical...

Deaths Elsewhere

September 07, 1999

Gwendolyn Lightner, 73, who as a pianist and musical director for church choirs in Los Angeles was a dynamic and pioneering figure in the evolution of gospel music on the West Coast, died in southern California on Aug. 22 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Born in Brookport, Ill., Ms. Lightner began playing piano when she was 8. After finishing her classical training, she became interested in gospel music through contacts with gospel giants such as Kenneth Morris, Roberta Martin and Emma Jackson. She became pianist for the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. and was director of music for the Western Baptist State Convention.

Pub Date: 9/07/99

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