Gospel Music Icon Lou Hildreth Passes Away

Mt. Pleasant, TX (Feb. 28, 2019) — Heaven received another incredible saint this morning. Lou Wills Hildreth is now in the arms of Jesus, just two months and two days after the love of her life, Howard Hildreth, passed away. Howard and Lou celebrated 72 years of marriage last November. Lou lived a dynamic life, serving the Lord faithfully in the Southern Gospel music industry, and her family was gathered by her side as she was ushered into heaven.

Lou Wills was born on July 13, 1928. She began her career at a very young age, singing with her father and siblings in The Wills Family. In 1946, while attending college, Lou worked as a cashier at a theater. Howard happened to have just returned from serving in the military and resumed his position as assistant manager. It was love at first sight, and they were married less than a year later.

Lou’s contributions to the Southern Gospel music industry were immeasurable. If she wasn’t singing or writing music, she was hosting a television show or appearing in a Gaither Homecoming video. She was the first woman to own and operate a talent agency, booking artists such as Mark Lowry, The Hemphills, Gary McSpadden and many other well-known artists. She was also co-owner of Sword and Shield Recording and Publishing Company. Her hall of fame inductions and recognitions on earth are plentiful, but none of them compare to the rewards she is receiving in heaven. Her kindness was overwhelming, and her intelligence and business ethic were a direct reflection of her commitment to serve the Lord with integrity.

JP Miller shares, “Lou Hildreth was my mentor. She was such an inspiration, a pioneer in the industry and the epitome of professionalism. She was the same person on stage when we were co-hosting television together as she was sitting across the table from me, giving me wise advice and godly wisdom that I rely on even now. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends all over the world, but we have no doubt that she is right where she longed to be, sitting at the feet of Jesus and reunited with her biggest supporter, Howard.”

Lou was preceded in death by her husband, Howard, and is survived by their children, David Hildreth, MD (Terri) and Kathryn Mumaw (Michael), and four grandchildren: Phillip White, Patrick Hildreth, Sean Hildreth, and Megan Hildreth.

The family is in the process of making arrangements for her celebration of life service, which will be announced soon.

Lou and Howard were an incredible team in the Southern Gospel music industry and will be remembered fondly by all who were blessed to know them. Well done, good and faithful servants … well done.

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Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.

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