HOUSTON—Mr. Henry “Hanq” Willis Neal Henry “Hanq” Willis Neal, the ultimate worship leader, soulful gospel musical artist and Grammy nominee, unexpectedly was called to his heavenly home on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Hanq was born Sept. 4, 1956 to Ed and Kathyleen Neal in Fort Wayne, Ind.
A statement released by his pastor, Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby, had this to say about the late gospel music legend and his passing:
“As promised, I write to let you know the status of our beloved Minister of Music, Hanq. As of this morning, Hanq has gone home to be with our God. His life has not only enriched our individual lives, but in so many ways, has caused us to be a better people of faith.
“To be sure, our hearts ache at the reality of such a timeless death, but our spirits draw ever closer to the words of Scripture which compel us to give thanks in EVERYTHING, for this is God’s will concerning us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
“Thank God for the life and the love of our friend, Hanq Neal.”
According to reports, less than an hour and a half after ministering “I Believe” during a church service, Neal had a massive heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital where he was in a coma until his passing.
The Fort Wayne grew up in the Apostolic church and always knew that gospel music was his calling. After quitting a job at a local telephone company, then leaving college, he pursued music full-time joining the group the Pentecostal Ambassadors during the ’70s. The group, composed of church friends, ended up signing a recording contract with Savoy Records. They toured across the country and had numerous radio hits.
The group’s recordings and performances gained Neal the notice of the legendary James Cleveland who gave him the opportunity to record with the GMWA (Gospel Music Workshop of America).
Neal also performed with the legendary Donald Vails Choraleers earning him a Grammy nomination for his vocals on “If You Move Yourself.”
A viewing was held Friday March 7, 2014 at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church followed by a Gospel Tribute that same evening with gospel artists from across the country at Greater Grace Center at 10800 Scott St. His Homegoing Service was March 8 at Greater Grace Center with the Rev. Marcus D. Cosby, pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church officiating along with Pastor Emeritus Rev. William A. Lawson, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Interment was in Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
Arrangements were by McCoy & Harrison Funeral Home Inc.
Compiled from the McCoy & Harrison Funeral Home Inc. obituary and Myhoustongospel.com links forwarded to Frost Illustrated by Pat Oates.