Cleotha Staples of Staple Singers siblings dies

February 25, 2013 in Top Stories

Cleotha Staples, whose smooth and velvety voice helped set apart the sound of the influential and best-selling gospel group The Staple Singers, died Thursday, Feb. 21, at age 78.

Staples, the eldest sister and member of the group her father Roebuck “Pops” Staples started in the 1940s, was at her Chicago home and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the past decade, said family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter.

The group included sisters Pervis, Yvonne, Mavis and Cynthia, but Cleotha was the backbone, defining herself by being the “strong, silent type,” said Carpenter, author of “Uncloudy Day: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia.”