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Billy Graham: 'Shea was one of my closest friends'

Posted April 17, 2013

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

Graham released a statement Wednesday mourning the loss of one of his closest friends:

"George Beverly Shea was one of my closest friends for nearly seventy years, and has been one of the dearest friends my wife, Ruth, and I have ever had.

He was one of the first members of our evangelistic team. Beginning in Chicago, we traveled the world together, with our close friend and comrade Cliff Barrows.

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.

Bev was one of the most humble and greatest Christians I have ever known. He has set an example and has been a role model of what a Christian ought to be. His contribution to my ministry cannot be measured in human terms. He is the fourth member of our original team to be called to heaven – along with Grady Wilson, George Wilson and Billie Barrows.

Since our organization is like a family, we are all going to miss Bev as one of the spiritual leaders of our Association. 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.

Bev has a wonderful family who dearly loved him, and my heart goes out to all of them. I am praying that God's grace and strength will be more than sufficient for Karlene, his two children – Ron and Elaine – and grandchildren."

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