Funeral of George Beverly Shea to celebrate life and music

The life, music and ministry of George Beverly Shea, who passed away at the age of 104 on Tuesday will be celebrated during a funeral service this coming Sunday at Anderson Auditorium, Montreat, North Carolina, the town both he and Billy Graham called home.

Dr David Bruce of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and the Rev. Richard White of Christ Community Church - Montreat, will officiate the service.

The service will be open to the public and doors will open at 1:45 p.m.

Often referred to as "America's beloved gospel singer", Shea was actually born in Winchester, Ontario, Canada, on 1 February 1909.

He became a part of the Graham team in the 1940s, first through radio and then as soloist for Billy Graham Crusades.

Over the years, Shea sang hundreds of concerts and recorded more than 70 albums of sacred music. He was the recipient of ten Grammy nominations, a Grammy Award in 1965, and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammy organisation in 2011.

In 1978, Shea was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame, and in 1996 he was elected to the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He also wrote the music to "I'd Rather Have Jesus" and other widely sung hymns.

The private burial service will be held at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte on Monday. The event will be closed to the media and the public, though media will be allowed on-site three hours after the end of the service.

A memorial website has been set up in Shea's honour at