Gospel Pianist Anthony Burger Dies At 44 While On Gaither Cruise

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A gospel pianist who hailed from Cleveland, Tn., died Wednesday while performing on a cruise with Bill Gaither.

Anthony Burger was 43.

He was a part of the Gaither Homecoming shows and had a number of gospel albums to his credit.

He lived at Brentwood, Tn.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said Mr. Burger grew up in Cleveland and was on his radio show playing the piano when he was three. He said he had been friends with him ever since.

Mayor Rowland said Anthony burned his hands when he fell on a grate as a youngster, and doctors said he would not be able to use his hands. "But he was determined that he would play the piano."

He said he left Bradley High School when he was 16 to join the Kingsmen Quartet. He went on "to win virtually every gospel award. He won the gospel music award so often that they named it for him."

Mayor Rowland said Mr. Burger came back to Cleveland to film his 25th anniversary music video and it was a best seller. He was in Cleveland for three recent Christmas concerts and all were standing room only.

Mayor Rowland said Mr. Burger played the National Anthem at the World's Fair when President Reagan attended, and he played several times at the White House. He said he "played with all the great people."

He said there was no hint that he had any health problem, though he had said he was not feeling well and he had chest pains. He said he was on stage playing when he winked at his wife, Luanne, then fell dead.

The couple has a daughter, Lori, who is in college, and young sons, A.J. and Austin.

His parents, Richard and Jean Burger, still live in Cleveland.

Mayor Rowland said funeral arrangements are incomplete, though he expects there will be services in Nashville and in Cleveland.

He said the ship is not due to reach shore until Saturday. An autopsy will be performed, but a heart attack is suspected.

Anthony Burger was described as "a piano virtuoso with an incomparable style of playing. Classically trained, the much-revered pianist for the Gaither Homecoming series as well as a highly successful solo recording artist, he commands a stage with his keyboard acrobatics."

On his latest release, A Tribute To Bill & Gloria Gaither, he featured some of the best-loved classics from the Gaithers, including He Touched Me, The King Is Coming, It Is Finished and Because He Lives.



D9 Mailbox Gathering Is Sept. 9

Traditionally, the "Mailbox" was where people gathered to receive and send important information. Therefore D9"s stakeholders will gather at the location below in a family friendly meeting environment.  The District 9 "Mailbox" Gathering will be held at 615 Derby St. on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 10 a.m.-noon.  Make a reservation to attend at dcoonrod@chattanooga.gov.  ... (click for more)

New Firefighters Confirmed By Dalton Public Safety Commission

At  Tuesday  morning’s meeting of the Dalton Public Safety Commission, Firefighter III Robbie Townsend was assigned to the Dalton Fire Department’s Training Division as an instructor. The reassignment fills the vacancy left by Keith Dempsey’s promotion last month to Training Division Coordinator. Mr. Townsend has served with the fire department since March 2008. He ... (click for more)

Girlfriend Says Wright Was Driving Her PT Cruiser When He Left With Pair Whose Bodies Were Found At Cemetery

The girlfriend of William Howard Wright testified Tuesday that Wright and "Little Tony" were with two youths whose bodies were afterward found in a cemetery at Shepherd. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound two counts of criminal homicide and especially aggravated robbery to the Grand Jury against Wright. A 17-year-old is facing similar charges. The girlfriend ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Pay Increases Announced

Chattanooga Police officers will be earning more under a $1.4 million pay improvement plan announced Tuesday. New officers would get increases in each of their first six years with the department, which has been dealing with a number of newly trained officers going to other cities. City officers now make $35,913 upon joining the force. Under the plan, they will receive about ... (click for more)

The Soul Of Chattanooga Is In Trouble

As a child growing up in the Chattanooga area, at an early age I became fascinated with the history that cloaks the city. In those days there was enough pollution to cover the town and its history but that didn't stop tourists from coming to visit Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and the Chickamauga battlefield.     Chattanooga's leadership was not very far sighted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ordinary To Extraordinary

A handsome black guy, from the looks of it still in high school, appeared in a video during A Celebration of Valor luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center Tuesday afternoon and described a Medal of Honor winner. Easily over 500 were there, including our famed Charles Coolidge, and all heard this young achiever say, “A Medal winner if an ordinary person who performs in an extraordinary ... (click for more)