Gospel radio announcer Marsha D. Sumner. (Courtesy photo)

Beloved gospel radio announcer Marsha D. Sumner, who died Jan. 24 at age 69 after a brief illness, will be remembered at a viewing and funeral service set for Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. respectively at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in. Ft. Washington, Md.

Sumner spent 20 years playing gospel songs on airwaves in the D.C. metropolitan area, and was one of the first to include Christian rap in the traditional gospel radio format. She organized youth events including “Holy Ghost Throwdown” youth rallies and “gospel nights” at various roller skating rinks.

“I want them to come off the street and get this message while they and have fun,” she told The Washington Post in 1993.

Sumner graduated from Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School and spent 30 years at FEMA, where she traveled the country doing recovery work at natural disaster sites.

“I felt like I had found my niche,” she said, according to gospel music site “At the end of the day, I could always see that I had helped somebody.”

Later in life, Sumner graduated from the Columbia School of Broadcasting and spent nearly a decade as a gospel announcer on WDCU 90.1 FM until it was sold to C-SPAN in 1997. She subsequently worked at WWGB 1040 AM in Suitland, Md. before spending another 10 years with WPGC Heaven 1580 AM.

Although she eventually retired to her Silver Spring, Md. home, Sumner remained active in the evangelistic ministry as a member of the Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, along with maintaining various local gospel and community events. To recognize her contribution to local youth, the Marsha D. Sumner Memorial Scholarship was created for high school students seeking a career in radio broadcasting.