Bill Goforth


William Curtis “Bill” Goforth, age 88, of Cullowhee, N.C. joined God’s heavenly choir on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, after a period of declining health.

Bill, a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, was born on Nov. 25, 1932, in Madison County, Barnard N.C., to the late Curtis Walter and Margaret Sara Lunsford Goforth.

Bill spent most of his formative years in the Maryland area, graduating from Kenwood High School, Baltimore County Md. He furthered his education at Lee College in Cleveland, Tenn.

Many knew Bill as “The Music Man” or “The Piano Man,” as God had graced him with amazing musical talent on the piano and in voice. He truly felt that he was called by God to service in Christian ministry through music. During his high school years, being a preacher’s kid, Bill provided music for his father’s Church of God services. Bill began his training in classical music but quickly found his passion in Southern Gospel music. He was trained in piano and voice by Gospel Hall of Famer Leroy Abernathy. In college Bill was a member of the gospel quartet, “The Lee Aires,” of Lee College.

After college Bill provided music for evangelistic campaigns (massive outdoor tent revivals) mostly in the northeast. Later he performed with “The Travelers” of Maryland; “Deep South Quartet” of Atlanta, Ga.; “The Mellowtones” of Asheville, N.C.; and “The Indian Valley Quartet” of Cherokee, N.C. For the past 11 years, until the time of his death, Bill was a member, pianist, soloist and board member at the Tuckasegee Wesleyan Church.

After retirement Bill gave back to the community by delivering Meals on Wheels to the elderly, and in 2019 was awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.

Bill is survived by his loving wife, companion, best friend and caregiver, Sylvia Lyday-Goforth; daughters, Dianne (Jim Waller) Sims of Shallotte, N.C., Michele Moskowitz and husband, Forrest Hoffmaster of Sheperdstown, W.Va., Jill Goforth of Annapolis, Md.; stepdaughter, Audrey Walkingstick of Cherokee, N.C.; sister, Barbara (Sal) Crisfulli of Baltimore Md.; grandchildren, Nathan Sims of Rockville, Md., Sara Sims of Annapolis, Md., Cory Moskowitz of Williamsport, Md., Josh Moskowitz of Frederick, Md.; great-grandchildren, Morgan, Phoenix, Greyson, Clover, Reese, Cooper, Tucker, Levi, Hallie Michele; niece, Leslie Whisnant of Baltimore, Md.; and great-niece, Tori Whisnant of Baltimore, Md.

A service of worship and celebration will be held at 11:30 a.m. today (Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021) at Appalachian Funeral Services, 165 Skyland Drive, Sylva NC, 28779, with Rev. Jeff Powell officiating.

Interment will follow at Green Hills Cemetery, 25 New Leicester Highway, Asheville NC, 28806.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in honor of William C. “Bill” Goforth may be made to Southern Wesleyan University. All gifts will support SWU Student Scholarships for music students in the Division of Fine Arts. Checks may be mailed to: 907 Wesleyan Drive, P.O. Box 1020, Central, SC, 29630; or online at

All those attending the services are respectively requested to wear masks and adhere to social distancing.