Robert L. Stevenson

The late Robert L. Stevenson had weekly gospel music programs on local radio stations for over 50 years. (Photo contributed)

Rome lost a giant in the gospel music industry Monday when Robert L. Stevenson, 87, lost a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Stevenson hosted weekly gospel music shows on radio for 52 years before falling ill just before Christmas.

Stevenson was the host of Gospel Time for close to 35 years, then changed the name of his weekly program to Joyful Noise. In addition to his radio show, Stevenson promoted gospel concerts at the City Auditorium.

His son, Rick Stevenson, said he was feeling fine until a couple of days before Christmas.

“He was very fortunate in that he did not have to endure what a lot of other people have to endure with this particular disease. He didn’t have to go through the extended trauma,” Rick Stevenson said.

His son said one of the things he remembers is that his father wanted to serve the kids at the Murphy-Harpst home in Cedartown.

“He would every year, take shoes to those kids, and that was a big thing to me as a child,” Rick said.

“His real true love was music, and that was how he ministered to people,” Rick said. Stevenson’s wife of the past 21 years, Beverly occupied his role as host of the weekly radio show for the last three weeks.

Randy Quick, general manager at Rome Radio Partners where Stevenson’s program was based, said Stevenson was able to reach into the gospel music community better than anyone he had even known.

“He was so at peace with his faith and his faith was an inspiration to everyone he knew,” Quick said.

Stevenson was raised in Bryant Chapel Baptist Church and, in recent years, had joined Lovejoy Baptist Church on Branham Avenue. The Rev. Carey Ingram said Stevenson had been a mentor to him when Ingram established his Upper Room Experience radio program.

“I didn’t have a clue what to do, and he got me through that,” Ingram said. “It was an awesome privilege we’ve had to have him here (at Lovejoy).”

Stevenson is also survived by a second son, Glen Stevenson, a daughter, Lisa Stevenson, and a brother, John Stevenson.

Funeral arrangements are being handled through Wright memorial Mortuary.