April 25, 2009

Gospel singer Wright dead at age 61

The Rev. Timothy D. Wright, whose baritone voice was evident in his gospel singing, has died in New York at the age of 61, his son David says.

The New York Times said Saturday that Wright died at a New York veterans' hospital where he had been hospitalized since a July 4 car accident that killed his wife, Betty, and their 14-year-old grandson, D.J.

The accident on Interstate 80 near Loganton, Pa., occurred when a car driving the wrong way on the interstate smashed head first into Wright's vehicle.

Anthony Heilbut, author of The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times, credited Wright, who died Friday of unspecified causes, with having a powerful voice despite his age.

He had a huge, raucous voice that he maintained well into his 50s, long after most such voices are shot, Heilbut said of the Grace Tabernacle Christian Center Church of God in Christ founder.

And he was not merely a singer and a choir director, he added, but well known as a composer of gospel songs.

The Times said in addition to his son David, Wright is survived by his other sons, Danny, Donny, Derrick and Dwayne; two brothers, James and L. C. Wright; and 13 grandchildren.