George Beverly Shea, the Rev. Billy Graham’s longtime soloist, dies at 104

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Grammy-winning gospel singer George Beverly Shea, an integral part of the ministry of Rev. Billy Graham for more than seven decades, died Tuesday after a brief illness at the age of 104, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced.

Mr. Shea first sang for the charismatic Christian minister on a Chicago radio show in 1943 and joined Mr. Graham on nearly every one of his famous “Crusades” around the globe in the decades following. The Ontario-born singer was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy organization in 2011 and was also a member of both the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame and the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

“I’ve been listening to Bev Shea sing for more than 70 years, and I would still rather hear him sing than anyone else I know,” Mr. Graham said in a statement Tuesday from his home in Montreat, N.C.

“He has set an example and has been a role model of what a Christian ought to be. His contribution to many ministry cannot be measured in human terms,” Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Shea is survived by his wife, Karlene, and a son and daughter from his first marriage, the BGEA said. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Erma, who died in 1976

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About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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