Beloved gospel singer George Beverly Shea, 104, of Montreat, N.C., soloist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, died Tuesday evening following a brief illness.
Graham’s senior by ten years, Shea was a mainstay as the worship singer with a deep voice, who preceding the famous evangelist in song for every crusade for 60 years.
“Bev was one of the most humble, gracious men I have ever known and one of my closest friends,” said Graham in a statement released by the BGEA. “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.”
Graham said he first met Shea while in Chicago when he was on Moody Radio. Since Shea first sang for him in 1943 during the radio hymn program, “Songs in the Night,” Shea has faithfully carried the Gospel in song to every continent and every state in the U.S.
“As a young man starting my ministry, I asked Bev if he would join me. He said yes and for over 60 years we had the privilege of ministering together across the country and around the world,” Graham said.