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Billy Graham’s baritone, gone at 104

From Associated Press:

(MONTREAT, N.C.) — George Beverly Shea, whose booming baritone voice echoed through stadiums, squares and souls during a decades-long career with evangelist Billy Graham, died Tuesday. He was 104.

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association spokesman Brent Rinehart said Shea died in Asheville after a brief illness.

Shea’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art” came to define the faith of a Protestant generation that Graham helped bring to Jesus Christ. He performed live before an estimated 200 million people at crusades over the years — taking him from North Dakota to North Korea and beyond.

He joined Graham’s crusade team in 1947 and stayed until Graham’s declining health ended most of the evangelist’s public appearances nearly 60 years later. “As a young man starting my ministry, I asked Bev if he would join me,” Graham said then. “He said yes and for over 60 years we had the privilege of ministering together across the country and around the world. 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.”


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  1. Oh my! I remember him singing at the 1966 rally in the UK. What a voice!

  2. Ah, the memories. I heard him in person three times. The first was at a Billy Graham Crusade in Cincinnati a number of years ago. The crusade itself was at the Cincinnati Arena, where he sang as part of the crusade. However, I was also attending the Billy Graham School of Evangelism which was held at a downtown church located (along with the Isaac M. Wise Temple) on the same block with Shillito’s department store. There he was singing and leading worship, accompanied by one of the crusade musicians on the rather sold sounding organ of the church. He like it, even asked what kind of organ it was. The last time I heard him was at a later Billy Graham crusade held in Columbus. By then Dr. Graham was showing his age, but George Beverly Shea sang as well and as warmly as ever, despite being in his early 80′s. Today we sing “How Great Thou Art” with the words he used, and will continue to do so with the memory of his voice in our ears. RIP George Beverly Shea.

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