About Merrill Womach
Merrill Womach (1927 - 2014) was known as the man with 42 voices due to his amazing vocal artistry. The four-octave tenor made a name for himself as a gospel singer and used his talent to transform the funeral industry
Womach built a national music service for funeral homes designed to minister to families during their time of loss. At the height of Womach’s success, National Music Service supplied music for three-quarters of the funeral services held in the United States and Canada.
Yet it was not music nor business which tested Womach’s spirit the most.
It was fire.
Tested By Fire
It’s difficult to say what Womach’s most famous for, or how the trying events in his life fed into each other. Regardless, they created the Merrill Womach so many people have admired and read about for more than 50 years.”
In 1961, Merrill Womach survived a fiery plane crash in southern Oregon. He suffered third degree burns to his hands and face.
“I looked exactly like a marshmallow that had been dropped in a campfire,” Womach recalled to People Magazine.
His hands and face were eventually reconstructed with flesh from his belly. The brutal disfigurement left Womach with years of unspeakable pain. Yet he credited his survival to more than mere luck.
“I believe it was all part of God’s plan,” he told People for during his 1981 interview.
“His face was gone,” wife Virginia later wrote in her book, Tested by Fire. “There were no eyes, no nose, no ears, no hair, no mouth, nothing except for this black charcoal mess sitting on my husband’s shoulders.”
However, Merrill Womach eventually returned to the singing circuit.
“God gave me the ability to communicate with my voice,” Womach once said. “After all, there are a lot of people out there with scars—and some of those scars you cannot see.”
After a lengthy recovery and dozens of surgeries, Womach went on to record dozens of gospel albums and inspire others with his faith in God. Womach would later document his ordeal in the 1975 film "He Restoreth My Soul" and in a 1990 TV segment for KSPS-TV.
Merrill Womach sang his entire life. His first public performance came at the age of ten when he was asked to sing at a funeral. Womach would go on to sing at funeral services, sometimes up to three a day, until he went to college.
He received his first taste of fame after graduating from Northwest Bible College where he sang on a daily radio program in Seattle for three years. In 1954. Womach was named musical director for Fourth Presbyterian Church in Spokane, Washington. As his star rose, he was invited to sing at various places of worship along the West Coast. In 1959, Womach launched what would become the National Music Service.
At the height of Merrill Womach's music career he graced audiences with 125 concerts a year across the United States. Womach's entire musical library can be found within GDNI's online store.