Singer-songwriter, Gabriel S. Hardeman, best-known for co-writing R&B star Stephanie Mills’ 1987 #1 hit “I Feel Good All Over” and Teddy Pendergrass’ “Truly Blessed”, died Saturday, June 16th in the Philadelphia area from complications of interstitial fibrosis. He was 68 years old. He was diagnosed with the illness in May 2000 but with medication functioned well until 2005 when he started intermittently using a portable oxygen tank. His condition improved after a 2009 single lung transplant at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital but he recently began contacting friends to say that his prognosis was grim and to say goodbye.
Born December13, 1943 in College Park, GA where his father was an African Methodist Episcopal pastor. He kicked off his music career by singing and playing piano at his dad’s church. His parents moved the family up north for better financial opportunities when he was still a youth. They settled in Harrisburg, PA before finally moving to Philadelphia where Hardeman graduated from William Penn High School.
After graduation, he briefly joined the R&B band, the El Dantes, before going off to West Virginia State College as a physical education major. Upon graduation, he worked as a physical education teacher and it’s during that period that The Gabriel Hardeman Delegation was born. “There was a talent show, and I wanted to get some kids together and do some gospel music,” he told Rashod Ollison at Philadelphia Inquirer in 2001. “`Oh Happy Day’ was hot then. I had about 40 kids and the next thing you know, word got around and we had like, 80 kids in the choir.”