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Gospel singer Doug Oldham dead at age 79


(RNS) Doug Oldham, a prolific gospel singer and ministry partner of the late Jerry Falwell, died July 21 at the age of 79.

Oldham, who was a soloist at Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church and helped the evangelist raise money to start Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., died at a Virginia hospital while awaiting back surgery.

Doug Oldham

“My father and Doug Oldham were an evangelistic team who brought the Gospel to nearly every home in America every Sunday morning on the ‘Old Time Gospel Hour,’” said Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. in a statement.

“The names Jerry Falwell and Doug Oldham were synonymous as Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea. ... His passing represents the end of an era at Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University.”

Oldham recorded more than 60 albums and sang on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise the Lord (PTL) ministry’s television show. He was the first to perform “He Touched Me,” a song written by colleague Bill Gaither.

“Doug’s resonant voice and vibrant spirit moved people at a very personal level,” Gaither recalled in a tribute on his website, “He possessed that rare balance between polished professionalism and authenticity.”

Oldham, a Dove Award-winning artist, was inducted in the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2006.