Memorial service held for legendary WNC gospel singer - FOX Carolina 21

Memorial service held for legendary WNC gospel singer

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CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

On Sunday, fans and loved ones across the nation mourned the loss of a man known as "America's beloved gospel singer" - George Beverly Shea.

He was a founding member of Billy Graham's team and died Tuesday at the age of 104. Shea had a long and impressive career. It's estimated he performed for 200 million people since his first appearance.

On Sunday, his music helped people share a final farewell.

"I just loved to hear him sing," said family friend Willa Ruth Cramer.

Fans of his music say it not only brings back memories, but it also won a Grammy and some say it did much more for their lives.  

"When he sang, people felt heaven closer," said Marilee Melvin.  

Graham attended the service Sunday to pay his last respects to a man he worked in ministry with for 60 years.

But as the Anderson Auditorium in North Carolina overflowed with fans and friends Sunday, it became clear who Shea was behind his music.

"Always pointed you to Christ, always made you think about Jesus," said Ruth Bernet.

"Probably the most humble man you'd ever meet," said Jack Perks.

A private burial for Shea will be held Monday at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte.

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