Waco: Celebrated Christian music composer dead at 83

Kurt Kaiser. (Funeral home photo)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Funeral services were scheduled Tuesday for Kurt Kaiser of Waco, who composed more than 300 songs, most of them based on the Christian faith.

He died Monday at his home after a lengthy illness at the age of 83.

Kaiser’s family will receive friends from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at 3800 Greenleaf Dr. in Waco.

A service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Waco at 500 Webster Avenue.

A reception in the church parlor will follow the service.

Among his most recognized works were “Pass It On” and “Oh How He Loves You and Me,” were just part of his repertoire when he and Wacoan Jarrell McCracken launched Word Records, which grew into a powerhouse in the Christian music and publishing industries.

Born in Chicago, Kaiser and his wife Pat moved to Waco in 1959 and the couple became involved with Baylor University and eventually sent all four of their children there.

He was played in the Waco Symphony Orchestra and in Seventh & James Baptist Church than became involved in the birth Dayspring Baptist Church, where he and his wife Pat were members.

Kaiser, for six decades, composed, arranged, played and Christian music his compositions today can be found in most Christian hymnals and are sung around the globe.

He was awarded a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1992, received two Dove Awards and in 2001 was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Kaiser joined composer Ralph Carmichael and together they produced Christian-themed youth musicals like “Tell It Like It Is” and “Natural High,” which sowed the seeds of today’s contemporary Christian music.

"Dad showed us what it means to be a loving husband, a dedicated father, and a truly humble person of faith. Those are values we will always carry with us," his son, Craig Kaiser, said Tuesday.

"I can't imagine what it must be like to hear music the way that Dad heard it. He truly had a gift," his daughter Kris Kaiser Olson added.

Kaiser is survived by his wife and four children and their spouses: Kris Kaiser Olson and Charles Olson of Waco; Kelli and Kent Kaiser of Sugar Land; Janet and Craig Kaiser of Houston; and Gail and Tim Kaiser of Coppell. Other survivors include 10 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, sister Sigrid Schultz, and brothers Helmuth Kaiser, Martin Kaiser and Gerhard Kaiser.

(John Carroll contributed to this story)