By Robert M. Marovich

JGM was saddened to learn of the passing of LaShun Pace. Her sister Lydia reported that LaShun passed from organ failure on March 21, 2022, in a Metro Atlanta hospital. She had been on kidney dialysis for five years. Homegoing arrangements will be reported when announced.

Here is a bio I wrote for the Malaco Music Group website:

Born September 7, 1961, to Murphy and Bettie Ann Pace in Atlanta, Georgia, and brought up in the Church of God in Christ, Tarrian LaShun Pace began singing in church as well as with her eight sisters in the Stellar- and Grammy-nominated vocal group the Anointed Pace Sisters. The sister group, formed by Bettie Ann, won Best Gospel Group at a COGIC convention, and toured nationally with their dynamic singing uncle, Evangelist Gene Martin, as part of Evangelist A. A. Allen’s Action Revival Team.

At some point, LaShun, who can growl with ferocity as easily as she can nimbly run up and down the musical stave in unbridled improvisation, ventured off as a gospel soloist. Her 1990 vocal performance on “The House of the Lord,” recorded for Dr. Jonathan Greer and the Cathedral of Faith Choir’s Savoy album He’s Worthy, inspired the label to sign her as a solo artist. Her debut solo album, He Lives, featuring the old school favorite “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” hit stores in 1991. Subsequently, Savoy signed the Anointed Pace Sisters aboard and released U-Know in 1992. U-Know remained on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for more than a year, rising to number two.

LaShun continued pursuing a solo career while singing with her sisters. Her solo albums for Savoy were Shekinah Glory (1993), Wealthy Place (1996), Just Because God Said It (1998) and God is Faithful (2001). In addition, she made formidable guest vocalist appearances on other artists’ records, such as on the remarkable “He’s a Shelter” for Reverend James Moore and the Mississippi Mass Choir’s 1995 Malaco project, Live at Jackson State University; and “Create in Me” for the AARC Mass Choir.

In 2002, LaShun was seen on the big screen as the Angel of Mercy in the Steve Martin film, Leap of Faith. She would later star in faith-based musicals such as David E. Talbert’s A Fool and His Money.

But LaShun’s life was not without its challenges. Divorced from her husband Edward Rhodes, she raised her children on her own. In 2001, her eldest daughter Xenia, who had been the subject of bullying at school, died suddenly of a heart attack; the autopsy report showed she had an enlarged heart. Xenia’s death sent LaShun into a deep depression. She fought cancer and weight issues. Her esophagus erupted, nearly causing her demise.

LaShun regained her health and reentered the gospel music industry. The titles of her solo albums—It’s My Time (EMI Gospel, 2005), Complete (EMI Gospel, 2007) and Reborn (Shanachie, 2011)—seemed to announce her career and life reboot. She sounded physically and spiritually fit on 2017’s “God Sent Me Tyrone.” But illness took its toll once again.

LaShun Pace was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and in January 2015, she joined the Anointed Pace Sisters at the 16th BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards, where the group was honored in their hometown of Atlanta.

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Written by : 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.