Bluegrass gospel performer Enoch Sullivan died Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Mobile, Ala. He was 79.

Sullivan and his wife Margie performed together for 50 years as members of the Sullivan Family band. They met in their teens, when Sullivan was playing mandolin in a group led by his father, the Rev. Arthur Sullivan. Their repertoire favored traditional old-time music and bluegrass gospel standards.

The group – dubbed “the first family of bluegrass gospel music” by Bill Monroe — included such young performers as future country star Marty Stuart, who debuted with the Sullivans at age 12.

The Sullivans toured internationally and were frequent performers at the Grand Ole Opry, and they’re members of the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame. In 2005, they received the Alabama State Council on the Arts’ Folk Heritage Award.

Sullivan is survived by his wife, a son and three daughters, 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. (Christopher Morris)