MONTREAT -- Billy Graham Crusades longtime soloist George Beverly Shea, who passed away Tuesday, April 16, at the age of 104, was remembered Sunday in a public memorial service at Anderson Auditorium in Montreat.
“This man’s life can be summed up in a few simple phrases,” said Dr. David Bruce, who offered the Scripture reading and meditation during the service. “The twinkle in his eye, the praise on his lips, the song in his heart, the length of his days, and the joy of his Lord.”
Beginning as the soloist for Billy Graham Crusades in 1947 in Charlotte, Shea sang with Billy Graham for nearly 60 years, until Graham’s final Crusade in 2005 in New York City.
The event was attended by nearly 1,000 friends and family, including Billy Graham, Franklin Graham and other associates of the ministry. During the service on Sunday afternoon, Cliff Barrows, long-time music director for Billy Graham Crusades, offered memories from decades of ministry alongside George Beverly Shea.
“For more than 70 years, I had the privilege of introducing ‘America’s Beloved Gospel Singer,’” said Barrows. “And, oh, how the people would listen. Billy Graham said he’d rather hear Bev sing than anybody. So would we all.”
Shea was the recipient of ten Grammy nominations, a Grammy Award in 1965, and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammy organization in 2011. He was also a member of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame and Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Shea will be laid to rest on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte during a private ceremony on Monday