The Speer Family
George Thomas Speer was a noted gospel songwriter and teacher. He married the love of his life, Lena Brock, in Athens, Alabama February 27, 1920. Lena and Tom (who will forever be known as Mom and Dad Speer both in their professional life and in my writing) shared a love of gospel music, and were raised in singing families. Mom and Dad joined forces with his youngest sister, Pearl Claborn and her husband Logan to form the Speer Quartet in 1921. This family tradition continued for more than 75 years.
The Claborns retired from the Speer Family Quartet, but Mom and Dad had young Speers in line to replace their aunt and uncle. In addition to their singing skills, all of the Speer children learned to play various instruments. Soon the Speer Family was made up of Mom, Dad, Brock, Mary Tom, Rosa Nell, and Ben. Rosa Nell was the pianist for the group. Dad said that it was difficult to find a capable pianist, so he decided to grow one of his own. Nobody could have picked a better pianist than Rosa Nell. In 1948 Brock meet Faye Ihrig and they were soon married. At this time, the Speer Family consisted of Mom, Dad, Brock, Faye, Ben, Mary Tom.
The Speers continued to sing the praises of God. Although time had made a change in the personnel, the core of the Speer Family continued to produce a quality sound on the stage and in the recording studio. After 75 years, it became apparent that the Speers were ready to retire from the day to day grind of the gospel music industry. Time had certainly made a change. At the National Quartet Convention, the Speer Family announced their retirement from gospel singing. All of the gospel music industry showed their thanks to the Speers for all of their accomplishments in gospel music. By this time, Brock was experiencing symptoms of alzheimers. It was time for the Speer Family to retire from singing. Ben announced from the stage that this was their farewell appearance. Many of their peers presented roses to the group in honor of their years of service to the gospel music industry.