TUPELO • Friends, family and fans of Lee Williams will celebrate the late gospel singer’s life and music next weekend.
A public walk through viewing for Williams is set for next Saturday, Sept. 11, at the St. Paul Christian Life Center in Tupelo from 1:30 until 5 p.m. The city of Tupelo will sponsor a memorial service in Williams’ honor at Gumtree Park that same day at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, a homecoming celebration will take place at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo. The event will include a second public walk-through viewing from 10:30 a.m. until noon, followed by a service at 1 p.m.
The public is invited to attend all events. Social distancing will be maintained at all services, and guests must wear masks.
Williams, whose group The Spiritual QC’s enthralled audiences with their soulful spiritual songs for more than five decades, died on Monday, Aug. 30, at his home in Pontotoc. He was 75.
A lifelong singer with a gravelly baritone and a stoic performance style, Williams began professionally recording music in the late 1960s. He founded and lead the Tupelo-based gospel quartet The Spiritual QC’s, which spent decades performing together before finally releasing their first national full-length album, “Jesus is Alive and Well,” in 1996. What followed was a string of successful albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
Along with the group, Williams has earned a spot on the Billboard’s gospel music charts, won 10 Stellar Awards (and was presented with the Stellar Awards’ prestigious James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010), earned a Soul Train Award for Best Gospel Album of the Year and was named the Gospel Music Excellence Awards’ Traditional Quartet of the Year in 2011. Williams was also given the Mississippi Trailblazer Award.
Williams retired from public performances in 2018. In July of that year, the city of Tupelo celebrated both his career and retirement with a public celebration, during which he was presented with the key to the city.