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1977 Inductees

Eva Mae LeFevre

By January 1, 2018May 5th, 2021One Comment

Inducted 1977

EVA MAE LeFEVRE 

(1917 – 2009)

Eva Mae LeFevre was the piano player, alto voice, anchoring member of the legendary Southern Gospel group The LeFevres during their hey-day; 1934-1977.

Eva Mae LeFevre circa 1960

Eva Mae LeFevre’s place in gospel music history is such that in many circles she was known as Southern Gospel’s First Lady.  By the time Eva Mae joined The LeFevres in 1934, the family group, centered on the smooth and tight harmonies of brothers Urias and Alphus, were already a popular Southern Gospel favorite. Shortly after marrying Urias, one month after her seventeenth birthday, Eva Mae became part of the threesome as a natural replacement for the sister of Urias and Alphus who had married and left the group. Eva Mae’s exceptional talent, radiant personality and overall contributions would take the group to new heights for the next 40 years. Her influence and impact on gospel music would be felt until her death in 2009 at the age of 91.

Eva Mae Whittington was born August 7, 1917 in South Carolina. Her father, Rev. H.L. Whittington, was a well-known Church of God revival and church planting preacher, so growing up in ministry and church-based surroundings was an ideal environment for Eva Mae’s talents to blossom. By the time she was a teenager her reputation as a dynamic singing piano player had spread, largely because of the ongoing exposure provided by her father’s intenerate revivals. Her charming personality and exceptional talent led to her meeting professional singer Urias, who was seven-years her senior.

Eva Mae had her first of five children in 1936. From then on until the children were grown, she balanced raising a family with the commitments associated with being a key member of an extremely popular gospel singing group. Once motherhood entered the picture she would always be torn between God’s calling and a family that needed her.

 The LeFevre’s popularity was based in part on recordings, live radio, and as many as 250 concert appearances every year. Beginning in the 1960s, they launched what turned out to be a successful television career with the Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated program, Gospel Singing Caravan and then later The LeFevre Family Show

As time went on, The LeFevres brought various family members into the group, including Urias and Eva Mae’s children, becoming one of the first gospel groups to use a supporting backup band. Even with the fuller sound of a band, they continued to be anchored by Eva Mae’s stylish, southern-gospel-flared piano playing and beloved emcee work. 

Eva Mae was the last LeFevre family member in the group and “left the road” in 1977. About that time the group name was changed to The Rex Nelon Singers since bass singer Nelon had become the group’s manager and with daughter Kelly the group’s primary talents.  Eva Mae continued to appear at various reunion functions such as the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion and on the Gaither Homecoming video series. As she worked in gospel music in her later years her often quoted motto was, when I go to heaven I want to take somebody with me. Eva Mae was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame in 1997.  Eva Mae LeFevre’s life was devoted to helping others know Christ the Lord through the ministry of gospel music.

Additional note of interest: 

Eva Mae LeFevre was the first Southern Gospel music artist inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (1988), a list that would eventually include gospel talents Hovie Lister, Lee Roy Abernathy, NewSong and her son Mylon

See additional GMA Hall of Fame entries for: Alphus LeFevre, Mylon LeFevre, Urias LeFevre, The LeFevres.

Content written by GMA Hall of Fame staff member Jon Robberson Sr. with source contributions by SGHistory.com (Feb. 2021) 

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