Today Middletonians are mourning the loss of one of their own -- a mellifluous voice that charmed millions around the world from hometown friends to U.S. presidents and British royalty.
Christine McGuire, one-third of the internationally- esteemed singing McGuire Sisters of both Middletown and Miamisburg, died Friday, December 28, at the age of 92, according to news reports. (*) She lived in Las Vegas.
Of the trio, Phyllis McGuire survives at age 87. Singing sibling Dorothy died in 2012 at age 84. (*)
Middletown and Miamisburg were home to the McGuires. Dorothy, Christine and Phyllis McGuire were born and lived in Middletown and attended local schools (Phyllis graduated from Miamisburg High). Their father, Asa, worked at Armco and their mother, Lillie, was an ordained minister/pastor at the First Church of God in Middletown and Miamisburg First Church of God. Music was a big part of the girls’ home, school and church lives.
To most people “Sincerely” is a word used when signing a letter. But to a previous generation, it’s the title of the song that propelled the McGuire Sisters to 20th-century icon status.
That fame arrived in the early 1950s. The trio was a featured act on the popular Arthur Godfrey TV program. Eventually their songs “Sugartime” and “May you Always” as well as “Sincerely” became part of the popular culture. The sisters were inducted into music halls of fame.
Their enchanting harmonies entertained five U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon to George H.W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II of England, and millions of devoted fans in concerts and on TV.
Despite their fame, the McGuires didn’t forget their roots.
Locals may recall when the McGuires returned to perform at the Middletown High School Prom Jubilee at LeSourdsville Lake on May 30, 1953. Decades later, in 1991, the trio captivated an audience of friends, family and fans at Middletown’s historic Sorg Theater.
Today our community will pause to reflect upon the beauty and talent of Christine McGuire. Some may even find comfort in the poignant lyrics of “May You Always,” especially its timely line:
“...May old acquaintance be remembered and your cup of kindness filled..” (**)
* From “Local Native Christine McGuire of the hit ‘50s music group the McGuire Sisters dies at 92” by Michael D. Pitman, Staff Writer, Dayton Daily News.
** From “May You Always” written by Dick Charles and Larry Markes. Available on Lyrics.com: