Sherytha Scaife, whose long career in Music City incorporated song publishing, museum management, record labels and philanthropy, passed away on Tuesday (Nov. 27).
She was the widow and business partner of Cecil Scaife (1927-2009). They were Arkansas natives who entered the music business when he became the promotion manager at Sun Records during its heyday in Memphis in the 1950s.
They moved to Nashville in the early 1960s. Sherytha was hired as a charter employee at the then-new Country Music Hall of Fame when it opened in 1967. She became the institution’s first curator in 1974.
The Scaifes established their Music Incorporated publishing company in the 1970s. It grew to contain one of the largest catalogs of Christian music in America. Cecil was one of the founders of the Gospel Music Association. The couple also operated the secular firm Tennessee Music Publishing, as well as a recording studio. The Scaifes’ record labels included Songs of Faith, Halo and Classic Christmas.
Cecil Scaife was a founding force behind the creation of the music business program at Belmont University. He retired for health reasons in 1998, but his wife carried on in the music industry. Sherytha Scaife oversaw The Cecil Scaife Music Business Scholarship Endowment at the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont. In addition, she was on the university’s board of directors.
She also created the annual Cecil Scaife Visionary Award. Among its recipients have been Tony Brown, Mike Curb, Harold Bradley, Marsha Blackburn, Amy Grant, Wynonna and David Briggs.
In 2010, Sherytha was honored with a SOURCE Award. These honors given to women in the music industry are held at the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum.
Sherytha Scaife was a glamorous 86-years-old. She is survived by her son Joe Scaife, a producer and engineer, as well as by her music-business daughters LaQuita, LaRawn and LaQuela. She had six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Services were held on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Mt. Olivet Funeral Home. Visitation was held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by her Celebration of Life.
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