NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Vestal Goodman, a pioneering gospel music singer who performed for half a century, including a stint on “The PTL Club” with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, died Saturday. She was 74.

Goodman died in Celebration, Fla., funeral officials and her Web site reported. The cause of death was not available.

Goodman and her late husband, Howard “Happy” Goodman, were part of The Happy Goodman Family act, which recorded 15 No. 1 gospel music songs and performed more than 3,500 concerts. They were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

In the mid-1980s, Howard and Vestal were regulars on “The PTL Club” television show starring the Bakkers. The Goodmans left in 1988 after three years on the show, and were not linked to financial improprieties as others on the show were.

“Jim and Tammy were two of the kindest, most sincere Christians I ever met. Jim Bakker was not concerned about having a bunch of money,” Vestal Goodman wrote in her 1998 autobiography, “Vestal!”

About Jim Bakker’s sexual encounter with a church secretary, she wrote: “I understood moral failure; Jim was not the first, nor unfortunately will he be the last, minister to make a foolish mistake.”

The family began singing together in 1949 and performed almost continuously through the late 1990s.

The Happy Goodman Family were original members of “The Gospel Singing Jubilee” syndicated TV program that was a pioneer in gospel music broadcasting. It appeared on more than 100 U.S. stations.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete. Survivors include a son and daughter.



Vestal Goodman: www.vestalandfriends.com

AP-ES-12-28-03 1943EST



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