George Beverly Shea

George Beverly Shea

Male 1909 - 2013  (104 years)

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  • Name George Beverly Shea 
    Born 1 Feb 1909  Winchester, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 16 Apr 2013  Asheville, NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I26303  Sorensen-Remington Family Tree
    Last Modified 7 Aug 2018 

    Father Adam Joseph Shea,   b. Abt 24 Oct 1872, Curran, Prescott County, Ontario, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Nov 1946, Houghton, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 74 years) 
    Mother Maude Mary Theodora Whitney,   b. 27 Feb 1881, Merrickville, Ontario, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Sep 1971  (Age 90 years) 
    Married 1 Jan 1901 
    Family ID F09434  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos

    "Uncle Bev" lived to be 104. He was known as America's beloved gospel singer, traveling the country and the world with evangelist Billy Graham.

    "Uncle Bev" to my brother-in-law Tom Willett, and to some of my nieces and a nephew; he was the most famous and beloved gospel singer of the 20th century.

  • Notes 
    • "Shea's first public singing was in the choir of his father's church. He credited his mother, Maude, for encouraging him to sing as a boy. Shea never planned on a career in music, and in his 20s he headed to New York where he worked at the Mutual of New York insurance offices. It was there he landed his big musical break, singing on "the amateur portion" of comic Fred Allen's weekly NBC radio show. 'It was in (NBC) studio 8H,' he said, the same space used today for NBC-TV's Saturday Night Live. 'Radio was big,' Shea said. 'I did my song, and I got a pretty good low note. I got second prize. First prize went to a yodeler. He was so nervous in the green room, he was smoking two cigarettes at a time.' That led to more singing opportunities. At age 23 he composed the music to one of his best known solos, 'I'd Rather Have Jesus.' Eventually, he found radio with broadcast preachers. He moved on to Chicago, announcing and singing on WMBI-AM, operated by the Moody Bible Institute. After joining with Graham, the men quickly went to work. He accompanied Graham in 1947 and his first crusade at the old armory in Charlotte, N.C. As Graham traveled the country and globe, so did Shea, who became a familiar presence alongside the minister on stage, radio and television. Traveling with Graham was a remarkable life, he said. 'I've been to Japan about three times, Australia four or five times. It was marvelous. I could bring my wife and two children.' " (from USA Today 18 Apr 2013)