Gabriel S. Hardeman Jr., gospel-group founder

Gabriel S. Hardeman Jr. also wrote R&B hits with his wife.
Gabriel S. Hardeman Jr. also wrote R&B hits with his wife.
Posted: June 24, 2012

Gabriel S. Hardeman Jr., 68, of Philadelphia, a singer and songwriter known for his gospel group, the Gabriel Hardeman Delegation, died Saturday, June 16, at Presbyterian Hospital of interstitial fibrosis, a lung disease.

Mr. Hardeman, a Philadelphia public schoolteacher and coach, who became a preacher in Georgia in recent years, was the son of the Rev. Gabriel S. Hardeman Sr., founder of the Hickman Temple A.M.E. Church in West Philadelphia.

Though he led the gospel group, he and his wife, Annette, achieved renown by cowriting rhythm-and-blues hits.

Stephanie Mills' recording of their "I Feel Good All Over" topped Billboard magazine's R&B chart for three weeks in 1987, publicist Bil Carpenter said.

Mr. Hardeman arranged and was a background singer for the song, which was featured on Mills' platinum-selling LP If I Were Your Woman.

Mr. and Mrs. Hardeman also wrote "Love Under New Management," which Miki Howard took to No. 2 on the R&B chart in 1990, Carpenter said.

Annette Hardeman said that her husband also wrote songs for Teddy Pendergrass and sang on recordings by performers such as Patti LaBelle.

In a 2001 Inquirer interview, Mr. Hardeman said he graduated from William Penn High School and earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1969 at what is now West Virginia State University, where he played on the football team and toured with the glee club.

During the 13 years that he taught physical education and was the softball coach at Strawberry Mansion Junior High School, he told the interviewer, he composed its alma mater and used students as the first members of the Hardeman Delegation.

"There was a talent show, and I wanted to get some kids together and do some gospel music," he said. "I had about 40 kids, and the next thing you know, word got around and we had, like, 80 kids in the choir."

After Strawberry Mansion, his wife said, Mr. Hardeman taught and coached at South Philadelphia High School.

Mr. Hardeman earned a master's degree in divinity in 1995 at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

His wife said that, in the 2000s, he was pastor at Bellview A.M.E. Church in Aragon, Ga.

Besides his wife, Mr. Hardeman is survived by his mother, Daisy, and son Michael.

A viewing was set for 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 23, at Hickman Temple A.M.E. Church, 5001 Baltimore Ave., before a 10 a.m. funeral service there.

Contact Walter F. Naedele

at 215-854-5607 or

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