By Robert M. Marovich

Professor Johari Jabir, Associate Head and Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Black Studies Program at University of Illinois at Chicago, informed the Journal of Gospel Music of the passing of St. Louis gospel artist and businessman Austin Layne Jr. on October 1 at age 87.

As a gospel singer, Layne’s style was mellow, pleasant, rich, a blend of traditional and contemporary. His presentations of “God’s Tomorrow” and “Have Mercy Lord” (with the Layne Ensemble) evoked the smooth crooning of Robert Anderson and Bishop Charles Watkins.

A St. Louis American article by Kenya Vaughn sums up Layne’s life and legacy as head of one of the city’s leading mortuaries and a gospel singer and recording artist. Homegoing service information is available at the conclusion of the newspaper article.

JGM extends its sympathies to the family, friends, and many fans of Augustus Austin Layne Jr.


  1. Collins Family October 8, 2023 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Condolences to the family and friends during this time of bereavement.

  2. A. Jeffrey LaValley October 8, 2023 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Austin A Layne was the premier vocalist/keyboardist/organist. He was always congenial and his smile could light up a room. He was a great friend.

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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.