Monday May 19 2008 – 6:39 PM ET
Dottie Rambo Memorial Service
by Les Butler/Staff
NASHVILLE, TN (Press Release) – God’s calendar is not our calendar. According to Dottie Rambo’s calendar, this summer was to be her busiest in years. In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 11, God changed Dottie’s schedule. He wanted her in Heaven this summer and every day thereafter.
Today, Monday, May 19 at 1 p.m. CST, hundreds of family members and fans gathered at Christ Church in Nashville, Tenn., to celebrate the life, lyrics and legacy of one of gospel music’s greatest songwriters. Here is a brief look at today’s service.
Larry Dalton played many of Dottie’s hits on the piano as the fans and friends filled the church. By the start of the service, there was standing room only.
Landy and Joy Gardner and Nicole Binion were the first to sing. They sang “Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome.”
Opening remarks were given by Dottie’s son-in-law, Dony McGuire. He opened with thoughts from the heart and scripture reading.
There was a time of prayer lead by Rev. Charles Green.
Dottie’s grandchildren were next to sing. Destiny Rambo McGuire and Dionne Dismuke sang, “I Will Lift You There.”
Dottie’s obituary was read by Bishop Jim Swilley.
Dino Kartsonakis took his place at the piano and played a stirring rendition of “Behold the Lamb.”
Barbara Mandrell spoke about the amazing gift that Dottie had, which was to make everybody she was with feel more special than herself. Barbara stated, “She is singing her God-blessed creations back to the Creator who gave them right this very moment.” She concluded by saying, “She was my heroine and my treasure.”
The Homecoming Choir started with Jeff Easter’s lone harmonica playing “Sheltered in the Arms of God.” The choir then joined in, with Ben Speer singing the solo. “Remind Me Dear Lord” was sung the choir with Terry Blackwood singing the solos. Jeanne Johnson did a great job on “If That Isn’t Love.” As the Homecoming Choir was seated, the Voices of Lee remained standing to sing “He Looked Beyond My Fault.” Babbie Mason and Jessy Dixon tore the roof off of Christ Church singing “I Go to the Rock.” The crowd sang along with reprise, after reprise, after reprise. “Mama’s Teaching Angels How to Sing,” was simply unbelievable. The Isaacs brought that Rambo family harmony back to life once more.
Pastor L.H. Hardwick, Jr., shared the 23rd Psalm.
A video tribute was next. It included Dottie singing some of her biggest compositions, interviews as well as at home footage of Buck, Dottie and Reba rehearsing. Again, a special moment.
The Greenes sang, “We’ve Weathered Storms Before,” a song the group released to Southern Gospel radio several months ago.
Michael Langston read a letter from Temple Bailey about special mothers.
Christian Ferguson, son of Dottie’s manager Larry Ferguson, sang “Stand by the River.” This was the song he sang with Dottie every night.
Bishop Carlton Pearson read letters sent by Lily Tomlin, Rev. T.D. Jakes and President George W. Bush. President Bush sent a flag that was flown over the White House this past Mother’s Day as a special keepsake for Reba.
Once again, the choir provided more great music starting with “I Will Glory in the Cross.” Lulu Roman sang the solos as she did each evening of the Golden Girls of Gospel Music tour which included Dottie and Naomi Sego. The Crabb Family sang “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before,” a song they had to sing almost every night for the last few years of their touring. You could hear a pin drop when Mark Lowry and LordSong sang “I Call Him Lord.” Duane Allen and William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys sang “Too Much to Gain to Lose.”
Gloria Gaither recited a poem she had written, using many of the lyrics penned by Dottie.
Kim Hopper provided the solos on “The Holy Hills of Heaven.”
Bishop David Huskins provided the special message of the day. He said, “Dottie’s music touched sinners and saints, saved and secular, angel and agnostics.” His message was titled, “Dottie Rambo, of Whom the World Was Not Worthy.”
The service concluded with Sandi Patti singing “We Shall Behold Him.”
The Gaither Homecoming Choir included Bill and Gloria Gaither, Mark Lowry, Dino Kartsonakis, Johnny Minick, Crabb Family, Greater Vision, Hoppers, Isaacs, Booth Brothers, Scott Fowler, Hemphills, Jeff and Sheri Easter, Whites, Oak Ridge Boys, Three Bridges, Nelons, Monument Qt., Jim Murray, Michael and Tanya Goodman-Sykes, Lou Hildreth, Bob and Jeanne Johnson, Mike and Kelly Bowling, Phil Cross, Mitchel Jon, Dave McVay, Eva Mae LeFevre, Russ Taff, Jessy Dixon, Tank Tankett, Judy Nelon, Naomi Sego, Kenny Bishop, Naomi Sego, Ben Speer, Allison Durham-Speer, Ann Downing, Amy Templeton, Kevin Williams, Aaron Minick, Terry Blackwood, Rick Goodman, Lulu Roman, Ivan Parker, Karen Harding, David Phelps, Joe Moscheo, Bill Baize, Joel Key, Ann Downing, Henry and Hazel Slaughter, Reggie Smith, Nora Allen and many others.
In addition to Dottie’s family and the Homecoming Choir, there were many artists and industry executives in attendance including Andrae Crouch, the Perrys, Lari Goss (producer/arranger), RW Blackwood, Billy Blackwood, Kevin McManus (Oak Valley Studios), Larry Strickland (Palmetto State Qt.), Ed Harper (Harper Agency), Misty Freeman, Linda Davis, Debbie Robbins, Jeff Templeton (Templeton Tours), Bill Bailey (promoter) and many others.