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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

(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. John

    I'm so confused!

    Are we supposed to be believers or beliebers?

    April 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Revan

      HAHAHA. Love it. That made my day. TY

      April 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Sandy C.

      lol 😀

      April 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Canned beans for jesus

      Both are equally revolting.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Joe

      Justin is a moron. And he's making Canada look back. Give Justin to the US and we'll take Pamela (Anderson) back.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Joe

      ** making Canada look BAD.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Thatguy371

      Many of us are non-Biebers. Does that count?

      April 18, 2013 at 7:41 am |
  2. Tony


    April 17, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Joe

      The New York Yankees. That's who.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  3. The Old Bat Next Door with the Cats

    He had such a lovely singing voice. I will miss him.

    "...not all the gold and silver...I would rather have Jeeeeesus by my side...."

    April 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  4. All the Glory

    “Do you believe if you go ahead and allow the holy ghost into your heart that you can be cleansed of all your sins and ascend to the kingdom of God? That is what I’m talkin’ about, can I get an amen? Can I get a hallelujah? Do you know if you take two ripe bananas and you put ‘em in a bowl and you put some sugar and you go ahead and bake it at 400 you can pull it out and have yourself banana bread? Hallelujah! Hallelujah, yes you can!”

    April 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Joe

      You said banana. You lost me.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  5. Rodrigo El Obviouso Del Los Santos Y Sanitarios

    I have come here for comedic relief. Real news has just been very sad and depressing for the last few days. The media LOVES it. Sickening, really.

    April 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Enrique Del Taco Cortes delos Alamitos Hungarios


      April 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Joe

      This world is SICK all over these days... no hope for mankind.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  6. Coroner

    Here is what we know. He was old. Not sure the cause of death at this time though.

    April 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  7. lionlylamb

    The odds of Celestial Life becoming a living encasement is of Godly reconnoitering. A human embodiment is filled full of many Life variations all living together mostly in harmonious balances. We are but embodied templates wherein the Godly dare roam. We are as buildings in which the Gods do call home.

    April 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Dash Riprock

      I never bother reading this nincompoop's diarrhetoric

      April 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      lionlylamb, you crazy old fuck. How are you today? Now pipe down you are disturbing my aquatic frogs Charlie and Alan.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  8. Apple Bush

    I saw a sunset and it was perfect.

    Why do you ask me to see another?

    For in waiting for the next sunset, I will endure much suffering!

    Perfection exists in the suffering too. Be thankful for the pain.

    Did I not thank you by loving you?

    April 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Samyaza

      see! pinhead!

      April 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    Who in their right mind could listen to that awful singing and music? The first thing I remember about going to church is hating the music. Torture.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Samyaza

      but don't you get it the christian god is,


      April 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Joe

      It's funny because people pay Bieber millions of dollars over the course of a year to hear his sorry @ss sing... so I might ask the same question .....

      April 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  10. Stephen Hawking is an Idiot


    April 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Dash Riprock

      Christian music is to music what road apples are to apples.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I beg your pardon!

      April 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Lynn Anderson

      I never promised you a rose garden

      April 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm |

    When I see goats, I always wonder "are ewe my fa-a-a-a-a-a-ther?"

    April 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Joe

      Well you do have a thing for Islam... anything is possible.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  12. Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

    Being delusional for 104 years is a lot of years of wasted time.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • HM8432

      That coming from someone who has a lot of time on their hands because they believe in nothing!

      Believing in science and reason requires the logic and faith to seek out answers to the unknown. Belief in, or seeking God, comfortably falls into that definition. Mr. Shea has at least attempted to do that, in contrast to those who believe in nothing (which requires no critical thinking skills or intelligence) like most atheists do. Not very inquisitive of them. At least deists believe some kind of Higher Power started the universe, which is why any smart atheists should never consider that the Founding Fathers were on their side theologically.

      In short, Mr. Shea found his Enlightenment...good for him.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  13. Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

    "worshipping warrior"
    Really? lol

    April 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Joe

      And what will you be known for when you kick the bucket?

      April 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm |

    He may have been a good gossiper, story teller , but had no truth absolute in his secular gossip, self centered stories , profession of hindu lair gossipers of hindu ages.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Samyaza

      OK that's a false, he was not a secularist he was an extremist christian.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Answer

      Islam, fails. Soon it falls, like all filth.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Samyaza

      yup! just like Christianity and Judaism all filth fails.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm |


      April 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Joe

      I can make up stupid shi!t too... the Cubs are going to win the World Series this year! There was no housing collapse. San Francisco doesn't really have any gays in the city.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  15. Samyaza

    oh yes i need to apologize to the world we still have not found a place for Graham. we gods are trying diligently for a solution that is best for all. but to tell you the truth; I'm rather enjoying having every one put aside their differences and looking for a solution; i mean i caught Cernunnos, Thur, Rangda, and Yahweh. having a meeting about it at a local bar.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  16. Samyaza

    if the Christian god is so wonderful, perfect and loving, why did i rebel?

    April 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Geesh

      I guess only you can answer that. If you were introduced to who the Creator is and decided it wasn't true, then you have your answer very simple really.....

      April 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Huebert

      You rebelled against your idea of the christian god. You can't actually rebel against any god, they are all imaginary.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Samyaza

      yeah he said i cant love humans, then killed my child and wife.

      oh and um Huebert, I'm imaginary?

      April 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Huebert


      I see I missed the joke. my bad 🙂

      April 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Samyaza

      its cool not many people know the true name, i also no the explicit name of the Jewish, christian Islamic god

      April 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Huebert


      What is it? I've herd Yahweh, Elohim, and I AM. I'm just curious as to which is actually correct?

      April 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • SamYaza


      Yahweh; is just the Canaan god of war

      Elohim; is a title just means most high, a person Elohim can be any god, Zeus, Odin, the spaghetti monster.

      I AM; is just an statement, and its actually contradictory to the bible, they always say their god is not creation but the creator. unless their god is like Gaia or Vishnu/ the creation that created its self... it just makes no sense when Christians Jews or Muslims use it.

      now on to the real name, cant tell you your head will explode, can say it starts with a "Di" sound.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  17. Geesh

    This is a man who lived his convictions, was gracious, "sought justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God" (Micah 6:8)

    April 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      And he had terrible taste in music. I don't respect anybody with poor taste in music.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Samyaza

      really i don't take advise from Vagrants and drunkards, seriously the next drunk homeless man you see ask him how you should live your life.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Geesh

      Sam....if you are caring for the homeless, you are to be commended, if you are just a bitter person on a blog you are to be pitied....

      April 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Samyaza

      i do care for those in need, i just wouldn't take advises on how to live my life from a Vagrant drunkard,...like Jesus

      would you?

      April 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Geesh

      Sam, then I am grateful for your compassion, to see the humanity in the homeless. I do hope you find some peace for the bitterness you have though.....

      April 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Samyaza

      i hate the reason why people become homeless, their is a common denominator, and its a bad famliy unite.

      then i think to my self.

      "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

      “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead" Mathew 8:21-22

      then i also think the one non pagan teaching in the bible is, mans dominance over nature. which have lead to subjugation and greed; if you cant care or the world around you, then you cant care for another.

      another words if you teat an animal or tree poorly then what stops your from treating a human so?

      April 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  18. Correctlycenter

    "So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow in heaven, on the earth and under the earth. And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:10-11

    When you think about it, everything in existence just didn't appear from nothingness, out of nowhere to somewhere. There has to have been an Intelligent Designer involved in creation of all we see. I believe that the LORD God Almighty has created everything in the universe, and His story is in Genesis chapter 1...

    April 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      Good for you. Your creation story is no more valid than anyone else's

      April 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Do a google search for "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss. You may find that you are wrong.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Dash Riprock

      Of course, the magic designer himself pops into existence out of nowhere too, which you just said cannot happen.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      "When you think about it, everything in existence just didn't appear from nothingness, out of nowhere to somewhere. There has to have been an Intelligent Designer"

      Fair enough. Where did the Intelligent Designer come from?

      April 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Huebert


      You are free to believe that, just don't expect me to.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow in heaven

      i love this one it proves unequivocally your god is a lair.

      my knee only bows before Amaterasu. the day i bow to your god will never come not in 10,000,000 life times.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Honey Badger: speaking of worthy reads, here's a NY Times critique of Krauss' basic mistake...

      April 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Why would anyone care what random philosopher "X" says about something he really knows nothing about, not to mention he's merely doing what every other apologist does. Arguments from ignorance, the god of the gaps, and equivocation fallacies.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm |


      April 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: read it again. you missed his critique. you are projecting your position onto his, so you're not actually hearing what he's saying.

      1) "who cares what philosopher X thinks?" because it's a philosophical discussion. and that's the problem. scientist X has a PhD in "not philosophy," and then he ventures into philosophy as if he carries the same mantle of expertise. some people mistakenly ascribe 'ex cathedra' type status to it, and then those same people are surprised when actual, philosophically-trained scholars point out rather *elementary* mistakes being made. saying "philosophy is irrelevant" fails to recognize that science *presupposes* philosophy & cannot function without it – especially in self-referential matters (what is science? what is knowledge? how are we accessing it?).

      look, the NY Times is not exactly a conservative publication. it's not like they're making an ID argument. the point is: Krauss is attempting to bypass metaphysical assumptions while *making* some of his own metaphysical assumptions. you can't criticize other people for something when you are doing the SAME THING – especially if you simply are not realizing that you are equally making that step. that's why the logicians are pointing out his basic mistake.

      2) this is not a "god of the gaps" scenario. to assert that means you're failing to hear the distinction.

      the critique is not "hey, we just don't know that yet, so hey, 'something supernatural did it' is the explanation" – as if one day there will be an alternative based in physics (this is not simply "what came before the big bang?"/eternal regress but rather "why are there laws/order in the first place?"). the critique is about something science *presupposes* (not even the laws themselves, but what *undergirds* the laws). it is a conceptual thing – not a scientifically accessible one. that's the philosopher's point: krauss is doing metaphysics & calling it physics. no wonder he's confused about his conclusions – he's forgotten to take into account his assumptions.

      read the article again: science cannot critique what it presupposes. it would be chopping its own legs out from under it. and to use science as an argument against something it presupposes is self-refuting.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Scientific "laws" are merely the way things interact with each other within the universe. To ask "Why is there scientific laws, like the laws of thermodynamics" is completely non-sensical. Those things are because they are. That doesn't "presuppose" anything. It's like the laws of logic, A=A, not because of any underlying reason, but because a thing is itself.
      What "philosophy" does science presuppose?
      Seriously. Krauss' arguments are not philosophical in nature, they are scientific.
      The entire article is that one philosopher railing against the lack of answer for "Well where did the physical laws come from then. Huh, huh, huh?"

      April 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      1) "those things are because they are." now you're not only insulting philosophy, but science as well.

      2) most scientists admit that science presupposes "methodological naturalism." look it up. that's a philosophy.

      even Nietzsche makes that point (as I've shared here many times before):
      "it is STILL a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science." (my emphasis)

      if you don't even realize you're doing it, no wonder you're surprised at the critique. but instead of being so dismissive, why not actually turn that skepticism on yourself? the other option is to say: "oh, silly philosophers. they're just all stupid." but let's not call that an intelligent option.

      3) Krauss' problem is that he forgets science has these presuppositions. so, in attempting to explain them away, he explains away his own explanation & science itself. again, that's self-refuting.

      note well the argument starting around the 2:30min mark...

      [in case you need to copy/paste it into your own address bar...]
      h t t p : / / w w w . y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v = r K 0 m j V c m c I o

      April 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Jill

      Russ, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      I just realized something. This is a horrible format for this particular discussion on this topic. lol.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Rodrigo El Obviouso Del Los Santos Y Sanitarios

      The question of "why" led to the creation of religion. Much of the "why" has been answered in explaning nature. The continued existence of religion is merely evidence of the fact that a realistic answer to "why" will never be good enough for some. This is observable in creationists demanding evidence for evolution. When presented with evidence, they deny it, or demand "real" evidence. The true philosophical question here is this:

      Why do people presented with reality still cling to fantasy?

      April 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Joe

      Sam.... never say never! Life is long and death is even longer!

      April 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Joe

      Sam, with respect to who created the master designer.... that's like asking the barbies in your little barbie house to figure out world peace solutions. Yes, I just did... I compared you to a barbie. LOL

      April 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: yes. Jill is exhibit A.

      @ Rodrigo: watch the video above. note well that *other atheists* are undermining your argument.

      April 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I'm trying to think how we can actually have this conversation, because it seems like it'll be fun.

      April 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  19. John 3:16-17

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

    April 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      if god is omniscient, he knew that man would fall. the entrapment is entirely his

      April 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      "May the hair on your toes never fall out!”
      ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

      This quote has more meaning than anything in your bible.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Rube 3:14-397

      Once upon a time there was a magic land of happy kung fu doom-kittens who so loved the world that they gave their strawberry-flavored catnip so that the world could be saved through them

      April 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Pretzels will save your everlasting soul

      So if you want to rid the world of sin, send your son to be killed.

      Makes perfect sense if you don't think about it.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Joe

      God is not like man. What's your point? Maybe that is the freaking point.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  20. Okey Dokey

    It's always a shame that religious people cannot have that one moment of realization that there is no god, that they wasted their life in service of an illusion. But people just stop when they die, so no enlightenment.

    April 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • What Irony that the Apostle Paul Agrees With You

      For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

      1 Corinthians 15:16-19

      April 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

      And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of the world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      Your biblical quotes are only valid to those who accept the supposed authority of the bible. If you want to say we are perishing, or minions of Satan. Have it it.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Okey Dokey

      So God knows that people were actively and effectively deceived by a superbeing, and He still punishes them? That's so unjust that even human courts wouldn't do that.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm |

      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 17, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Joe

      Okey, you must be the first person I've ever met that knows exactly what happens when a person dies. Of course this must mean you've died and come back to share your insight with us. Good for you!

      April 17, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
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About this blog

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.