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In the year 1921, G.T. "Dad" and Lena "Mom" Speer formed the Speer Family with Dad's sister Pearl and her husband Logan Calborn. The Speer Family sang as continually as a singing group until their retirement in 1998, an unprecedented 77 years. Here is a history of the First Family of Gospel Music.

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Speer Family History Timeline

George Thomas Speer born in Fayette County, GA

1891

Lena Brock born in Shady Grove Hill, Cullman County, AL

1899

G.T. Speer drafted into the U.S. Army and deployed to France. He battled homesickness by bringing along songbooks. Wrote “I Know My Savior Cares For Me” as a result of his experience overseas.

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1917

G.T. Speer and Lena Brock married on February 27 in Athens, AL. Jackson Brock Speer is born on December 28, 1920.

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1920

Singing Speer Family formed with G.T. and Lena Speer, G.T.’s sister Pearl, and her husband, Logan Claborn.

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1921

Rosa Nell Speer born, and the group gained what would become its first piano player.

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Rosa Nell and Brock
1922

Mary Tom Speer born shortly after they moved to Double Springs, AL.

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1925

Ben Lacy Speer born and soon contracted whooping cough. While singing at a revival, G.T. “Dad” Speer asked the church to pray, and Ben started to get better. A couple of nights later, Brock gave his heart to the Lord.

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1930

Dad secured a job with the Vaughan Music company in Lawrenceburg, TN, and moved his family there. Dad had been a melody writer. Lyricist James Rowe encouraged Dad to try his hand at writing words, too. After much prayer he wrote “The Dearest Friend I Ever Had.”

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1934

Dad Speer taught at a singing school and had a new student, Mosie Lister, who went on the write the gospel standard, “’Til The Storm Passes By.”

1940

The Speer Family joined the staff of WSFA radio station in Montgomery, AL and started a daily radio program which aired daily live at 6:15 AM.

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1941

Brock drafted into the U.S. Army and spent three years in Italy driving trucks for the Army Air Corps. Every morning Brock was away from the family, Dad Speer walked to the nearby Nazarene church and prayed for Brock’s safety with the church’s pastor.

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1942

Brock discharged from the Army as a corporal. Family moved to Nashville, TN, for Brock to attend Trevecca Nazarene College on the G.I. Bill. Brock would say that the G.I. Bill was the only good thing the U.S. Army did for him.

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1945

Rosa Nell married Edwin Powell in June, and Brock married Faye Ihrig in August. In order to increase his family, Dad Speer offered $50 for each grandchild, eventually costing him $600.

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1948

The Speer Family started a daily radio program, later a TV program, which aired live at 6:00 each morning on WSIX in Nashville. Signed with the Bullet record label.

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1952

Ben married Mildred Bradley.

1953

Mary Tom married Robert Reid. Group signed with RCA-Victor.

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1954

The Speer Family hired the first non-family group member, Joyce Black (West.) Joyce was the first of many talented singers to be a part of the Speers.

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1955

Dad Speer honored for 50th year in Gospel Music at the National Quartet Convention in Memphis, TN.

1958

Dad Speer suffers his first heart attack. Dad and Mom would join the group for selected engagements.

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1963

The Speers began regular appearances with the LeFevres on the Singing Time In Dixie television show taped in Atlanta.

1964

Speer signed with Heartwarming Records, a part of The Benson Company.

1965

Dad Speer passes away.

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1966

Mom Speer passes away.

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1967

The Speer Family awarded the first of seven Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association.

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1969

Premiered Bill & Gloria Gaither’s, “The King Is Coming,” which became one of their biggest songs.

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1970

The Benson Company celebrated the Speers’ 50th anniversary as a singing group by releasing “Let The Song Go On,” a book on the history of the family. Dad Speer inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame.

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1971

Mom Speer inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame. The Speer Family sings for 200,000 at Explo '72 in Dallas, TX.

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1972

Brock Speer inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame.

1975

The Speer Family received first of 5 Grammy Award nominations. The group is invited by President Jimmy Carter to perform on the White House south lawn with several other artists. Brock Speer presents President Carter with a Steuben Glass bowl from the Gospel Music Association.

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1979

Celebrated 60th anniversary with special recording featuring Rosa Nell and Mary Tom, who joined them on select dates.

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1981

Ben Speer inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame.

1995

Dad and Mom Speer inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

1997

The Speer Family retired from public performance at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY. Group the Lifetime Achievement award by the Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame. Ben Speer inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

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1998

Rosa Nell Speer Powell inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

2005

Mary Tom Speer Reid inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

2006

Faye Speer inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

2014
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