Gospel singer, Graham confidant George Beverly Shea dies at 104
George Beverly Shea (left) with his close friend, Billy Graham (right).
April 17th, 2013
11:45 AM ET

Gospel singer, Graham confidant George Beverly Shea dies at 104

By Dan Merica, CNN
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(CNN) - George Beverly Shea, a noted gospel singer and close confidant to evangelical leader Billy Graham, died Tuesday evening after "a brief illness," according to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. He was 104.

Shea had been hospitalized after a stroke, association spokesman Brent Rinehart said.

In honoring Shea's death, the evangelical organization noted that the singer had "carried the Gospel in song to every continent and every state in the Union."

"I first met Bev Shea while in Chicago when he was on Moody Radio," Graham said in a statement. "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."

He continued, "Bev was one of the most humble, gracious men I have ever known and one of my closest friends. I loved him as a brother."

iReport: Remembering George Beverly Shea

Reaction to Shea's death lit up Twitter, with fans across the country remembering "a remarkable man" who led a life of "great significance."


Shea recorded more than 70 sacred music albums, according to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. The work earned him a Grammy in 1965 - for his "Southland Favorites" album - and nine other nominations from the prestigious organization.

Additionally, the Grammy organization honored Shea with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

"Even though Bev was 10 years older than my father, he never acted his age," Graham said. "He was absolute fun to be with. Bev was one of the most gracious and unassuming men I have known. He was always encouraging and supportive, a man of deep faith and strong commitment to Jesus Christ."

Shea, born in Winchester, Ontario, on February 1, 1909, was the son of a Methodist minister. His father taught him the violin, and his mother taught him the piano and organ. He started singing in the choir of his father's church.

Shea is survived by his wife, Karlene, and two children from his first marriage, Ronald and Elaine, according to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity

soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. Science

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


    April 25, 2013 at 6:56 am |
    • Science

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      April 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  2. Scott

    I attended 2 Billy Graham crusades. the first one didn't get through to me. I don't remember anything that was said. The second time I heard one, I received Christ into my life as Lord and Savior. The Lord's timing is amazing. I often think, why didn't I hear the messge the first time? God only knows, its all about His timing. But I sure heard it second time, and my life hasnt been the same since. That was many years ago, and I still know His peace and forgiveness. God bless

    April 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Scott.........................Facts work best for teaching children !

      Evolution wins hands down ..........time for god(s) to get the HELL out of the way................so humanity can evolve !

      Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young


      April 21, 2013 at 6:35 am |

    sam stone ... so you missed all the fun I had with hawaiiguest the other day... sam & hawaiiguest you guys must have nothing better to do as usual, this time you low life's beat me to the blog. Back again up to no good. To everyone on this blog sam stone & hawaiiguest purposely come to Christian blogs and try to harass Christians, if you follow them on other blogs they literally say the same thing over and over again. Apparently atheist teach attacking Christians is what you should do with your useless life. These are sad and misled individuals that need allot of prayer, they come from a long line of inbred monkeys that developed from fish that swam in rivers millions of years ago. Apparently impregnating your sister is ok with these guys and this is why we need to pray for them. Its so nice to see you guys again....=)

    April 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • It never ceases to amaze

      Is there no Christian anywhere who can capitalize and spell and use proper grammar?

      April 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      The truth..you appear to have little grasp of evolution even though you are a product of it. We do not harass Christians,, at least any worse then you may harass gay folks. what you may call "harassment" is actually normal questions which due to the fact you have no answers may feel like harassment to you. That's the problem of "learning" a religion and not being able to question it.

      April 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Do you have a valid point, or are you just enjoying being as stupid as possible?

      April 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  4. Michael, Chapel Hill

    A life well spent.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  5. ari

    @ All in need of a Saviour...... your comment about blind and deaf ...... Im not blind i can see the sun .. tangible ...... i can see and hear the train .... tangible, however i look both ways before i cross a street because there is no imaginary person above protecting me.

    April 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • K from AZ

      “No one disbelieves the existence of God except he to whom God’s existence is not suitable”.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  6. sgs

    We will pray for you, "Righteo."

    April 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  7. sgs

    He was a wonderful person with a magnificent voice. He is now singing with the Lord! RIP, Mr. Shea!

    April 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.