By Bob Marovich
MonaLisa Brown informed the Journal of Gospel Music that Ms. Catherine Austin Baymon, a longtime gospel vocalist with Chicago’s Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church, passed away on Sunday, January 5, 2020.
Born in Canton, Mississippi, Catherine moved to Chicago with her mother when she was about to enter high school. She graduated from Du Sable High School and worked for many years as a general accountant at Kraft Foods as well as for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.
She joined Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church on June 27, 1956, where gospel pioneer Roberta Martin was in charge of the music and the pastor was the Reverend Dr. Joseph Wells. At first, Catherine sat in the audience and listened to the music, but Martin persuaded her to join the church choir, which at the time was under the direction of Little Lucy Smith. Ultimately, Catherine stepped out as a gospel soloist, specializing in the traditional style, and also sang with Elizabeth Nightingale as part of a Mt. Pisgah-based vocal ensemble called the Sensationals.
Though she was never a member of the Roberta Martin Singers, Catherine worked with several of them in various capacities at Mt. Pisgah. Catherine was on the television programs Jubilee Showcase and Rock of Ages.
Catherine also married Roberta Martin’s widower, Mr. James Austin, who had been a member of the All Nations Pentecostal Church, where Little Lucy’s grandmother, Elder Lucy Smith, was founder and pastor.
Mt. Pisgah M. B. Church was her home, and it is where she wanted to be funeralized. She restored her membership at Mt. Pisgah a few years ago, under the leadership of Rev. E.F. Ledbetter III.
The services will be:
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Wake: 3-4 pm
Service: 4 pm
Mt. Pisgah MBC, 4600 S. King Drive, Chicago, Illinois
For more information on Ms. Baymon, please listen to this broadcast of “Gospel Memories,” where she was interviewed in January 2014:
Here’s Catherine singing “He’s My Everything” at Mt. Pisgah M.B. Church: