News obit: George Beverly Shea, the voice of Billy Graham Evangelical Association


George Beverly Shea, at 101 years old, served as grand marshal of Montreat’s July Fourth parade three years ago. / Photo by Jason Sandford

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports. I interviewed George Beverly Shea briefly three years ago when he served as grand marshal of Montreat’s July Fourth celebration:

Legendary Gospel music singer George Beverly Shea, whose career spanned much of the 20th century and who long served Rev. Billy Graham, died Tuesday at 104 in Asheville after a short illness.

“Bev was one of the most humble, gracious men I have ever known and one of my closest friends,” Graham said. “I loved him as a brother. My prayer for his wife, Karlene, and his children, Ron and Elaine, is that God will strengthen them during this time.”

The Canadian-born Shea was a Grammy-winning singer whose deep rich voice led him to be known as “America’s beloved gospel singer.”

He recorded 70 albums, toured the world, and earned 10 Grammy nominations. He won a Grammy in 1965 and in 2011, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammy organization.

But Shea was best known for his partnership and friendship with Graham which dated to 1943 while the singer was appearing on a Chicago radio program. In 1947, Graham asked Shea to join his ministry.

New York Times obituary of George Beverly Shea here.