Lou Hildreth

Mt. Pleasant, TX (February 28, 2019) – Heaven received another incredible saint this morning. Lou Wills Hildreth is now in the arms of Jesus, just two months and two days after the love of her life, Howard Hildreth passed away. Howard and Lou celebrated 72 years of marriage last November. Lou lived a dynamic life serving the Lord faithfully in the southern gospel music industry and her family was gathered by her side as she was ushered into heaven.


Lou Wills was born on July 13, 1928. She began her career at a very young age, singing with her father and siblings in The Wills Family. In 1946, while attending college, Lou worked as a cashier at a theater. Howard happened to have just returned from serving in the military and resumed his position as Assistant Manager. It was love at first sight, and they were married less than a year later. Lou’s contribution to the Southern Gospel music industry were immeasurable. If she wasn’t singing or writing music, she was hosting a television show or appearing in a Gaither Homecoming video. She was the first woman to own and operate a talent agency, booking artist such as Mark Lowry, The Hemphills, Gary McSpadden and many other well-known artists. She was co-owner of Sword and Shield Recording and Publishing Company. Her hall of fame inductions and recognition on earth are plentiful, but none of them compare to the rewards she is receiving in heaven. Her kindness was overwhelming and her intelligence and business ethic were a direct reflection of her commitment to serve the Lord with integrity.


JP Miller shared, “Lou Hildreth was my mentor. She was such an inspiration, a pioneer in the industry and the epitome of professionalism. She was the same person on stage when we were co-hosting television together as she was sitting across the table from me, giving me wise advice and Godly wisdom that I rely on even now. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends all over the world, but we have no doubt that she is right where she longed to be, sitting at the feet of Jesus and reunited with her biggest supporter, Howard.”


Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame member Lou Wills-Hildreth inducts Jerry Kirksey into the SGMA Hall of Fame recently in Dollywood. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Lou was preceded in death by her husband, Howard and is survived by their children, David Hildreth, MD (Terri) and Kathryn Mumaw (Michael); and four grandchildren, Phillip White, Patrick Hildreth, Sean Hildreth and Megan Hildreth.


The family is in the process of making arrangements for her celebration of life service, which will be announced soon.


Lou and Howard were an incredible team in the southern gospel music industry and will be remembered fondly by all who were blessed to know them. Well done, good and faithful servants… well done!

Media contact: Marcie Gray – (865) 804-8200


Industry Professional Contact:

JP Miller (Appointed Industry Representative by Family) – (865) 654-7878