Gatlin Brothers’ Father Dead at 93


The Gatlin Brothers are mourning the death of their father, but they are also celebrating his life and legacy.

According to a press release from the Gatlins’ representative, William Wayne “Curley” Gatlin died on Monday (Nov. 9) at the age of 93. He was the father of Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin, who shot to fame as the Gatlin Brothers with a string of hits in the late ’70s and ’80s, including “All the Gold in California,” “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You),” “What Are We Doin’ Lonesome,” “The Lady Takes the Cowboy Every Time” and more.

The brothers issued a statement on Wednesday (Nov. 11), saying, “It is with great sadness that we share the news of our father’s passing on Monday at 4PM. It is with great joy that we think of the reunion with our mom, his mom and dad, and all the saints who were there to usher him into heaven.

“Music is a healing balm,” the statement continues before quoting lyrics from “I Won’t Have to Cross Jordan Alone”:

“I won’t have to cross Jordan alone. Jesus died all my sins to atone. In the darkness I see. He’ll be waiting for me. I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.”

The brothers turned to social media on Tuesday (Nov. 10) to share a series of photos of their father:

Gatlin was born in Mabank, Texas, on May 14, 1927. He was a veteran of the United States Marines Corps, and his sons credit him with teaching them a solid work ethic. He was married to his wife, Billie Doan Gatlin, for 70 years until her death in 2017. The details of his death have not been disclosed publicly.

William Wayne Gatlin is survived by his three sons; a daughter, LaDonna; nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. His family is planning a private memorial service.

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