George Beverly Shea, the Billy Graham Crusades lead singer who died last week, was remembered in a public memorial service at Anderson Auditorium in Montreat, North Carolina, on Sunday, April 21. The event was attended by nearly 1,000 family and friends, including Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows.
"For more than 70 years, I had the privilege of introducing 'America's Beloved Gospel Singer.' And, oh, how the people would listen. Billy Graham said he'd rather hear Bev sing than anybody. So would we all," said Barrows, who is the longtime music director for Billy Graham Crusades, during the service.
He continued, "We knew that whatever took place on the platform before Billy Graham spoke, in every city we visited, that Bev would be used by the Spirit of God to prepare the hearts of the people for the message and he would prepare Billy's heart to preach that message."
Shea will be laid to rest on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte in a private ceremony on Monday, April 22. During the ceremony, the library and grounds will be closed to public and will reopen on Tuesday, April 23.
Shea passed away at the age of 104 on Tuesday night, April 16 at Asheville's Mission Hospital after suffering a stroke. Shea's partner for decades, Graham, expressed his sadness in a written statement.
He said, "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." He added, "I have lost one of the best friends I have ever had, but he and I look forward to seeing each other in heaven relatively soon."