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Remembering George Beverly Shea

Updated: Wednesday, April 17 2013, 09:41 PM EDT

George Beverly Shea, known around the world for his powerful voice in the Billy Graham crusades, died last night following a brief illness.

He lived in Montreat for decades less than a mile away from the Reverend Graham's home.

Today the pastor and his friends are remembering him as a humble, gentle, messenger who used his great voice as a messenger of the gospel.

His ability as a musician was reflected in the attention his fans gave him, not only in the crusades, but also in his recordings.

With more than five decades with the Billy Graham team, he sang in every state in the union, and every continent on the planet.

George Beverly Shea was notminated for ten Grammys, he won one in 1965, and that organization bestowed on him it's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Shea recorded more than 70 albums of sacred music, including a song he wrote in his 20's called "I'd Rather Have Jesus."

That song became his theme song and according to the pastor of Montreat's Christ Community Church, his voice became his ministry to the world.

Rev. Richard White, Montreat Presbyterian Church, "he was a joy-filled man, and he loved to laugh, but I think his legacy here in our congregation was that he sang the songs of the gospel, and when you're around Bev, you're never far from Jesus, he constantly brought in songs that sang of Christ."

Pastor Richard White says he will be missed here at the church where he was a member.

Pastor White says just two weeks ago the church choir went to Shea's home nearby to sing for him and enjoy fellowship with him.

By Sherrill Barber
Follow Sherrill on Twitter @SherrillBarber

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Remembering George Beverly Shea

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