LUMBERTON — Lowell Locklear, a resident of Scotland County, was inducted in the Native American Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 10.
As part of a three-day event held in Lumberton, the induction program is in its third year of recognizing and celebrating Native Americans who have significantly contributed to the advancement of the gospel music industry.
Created by a group of Christian individuals and industry leaders, 100 nominees were selected for this prestigious award. Locklear is one of 10 nominees inducted in the Hall of Fame this year.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for this award,” Locklear said. “Singing gospel music has been my lifelong passion and one that I will not take for granted.”
As the lead singer for the Skylite Boys Quartet, Locklear has been singing gospel music for more than six decades. He credits his earlier influence by professional singing groups such as the Statesmen Quartet, the Blackwood Brothers and the Kingsmen Quartet.
Recalling some of his fondest memories, Locklear said he and the Skylite Boys have shared the stage spotlight with the Oak Ridge Boys, Dottie Rambo and, following the death of Elvis Presley, the group served as backup vocals for Elvis impersonator Ronnie Lee, a Chicago native.
Locklear has written and published 13 gospel songs, four receiving national airplay and one receiving international airplay in Ireland.
Despite all the professional highs, his life has also seen its valleys.
Diagnosed with inoperable stage four lung cancer in 2014, Locklear’s chances of survival beyond 18 months were slim. Five years post-diagnosis, he continues to sing — and with overwhelming support from family and friends, he and his wife Ann organize and sponsor free gospel music sings twice a year at the Skylite Gospel Barn located in Laurinburg.
Lowell and Ann attend Berea United Methodist Church in McColl, South Carolina, and are active members of the Tennessee Walking Horse Association.