“Steal Away to Jesus” – R.I.P. Hulah Gene Dunklin Hurley

On a very sad note: Madame Hulah Gene Dunklin Hurley of Detroit, Michigan passed away Wednesday, January 25. Gospel scholar David Jones told TBGB that she was in the hospital for a routine operation, experienced some post-op complications that may not have been diagnosed properly, and suffered a massive heart attack.

Hulah Gene was a member of Rev. James Lofton’s Church of Our Prayer Choir (“Great Day,” Prosperity and Vee Jay, 1954) and a regular soloist with Rev. Charles Craig’s great Voices of Tabernacle Choir. Her high soprano voice could be heard soaring above the choir. The song she is most remembered for, and one she reprised for the Detroit Remembers project on the S.O.G. label, is “Jesus Will.”

Later, Hulah Gene and her daughter Carolyne recorded a number of singles and LPs for Savoy Records. Recently, she was director of music at New Liberty Baptist Church in Detroit.

In November 2004, Hulah Gene was a guest on WLUW’s “Gospel Memories.” We will rebroadcast that interview on the February 5 “Gospel Memories” program as a tribute to the friendly lady with the coloratura voice whom we will all miss dearly.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.


  1. I recall when i was a little girl attending Rev James Lofton’s Church (The Church of our Prayer) and hearing Hula Gene Dunklin sing The LordsPrayer. I will never forget that to this day and hearing Charles Craig play!
    My Granny (Mother Dear–Lillie L. Jackson was a member of the Mother Board and i was probably six years old, and i sat next to her and wore a white robe much like hers!).

    Those early days in the church shaped and molded me and formed the strong spiritual foundation on which i stand today at the age of almost 76 years!

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