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George Beverly "Bev" Shea (born February 1, 1909) is a Grammy Award-winning Canadianmarker centenarian, bass-baritone singer of gospel music and the composer of several hymns and hymn tunes. Shea has often been described as, "America's Beloved Gospel Singer," and is considered, "the first international singing 'star' of the gospel world," as a consequence of his solos on the Billy Graham Crusades, and his exposure on radio, records, and television. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Shea holds the world record for singing in person to the most people ever, with an estimated cumulative live audience of 220 million people.

Biography

Early life and family

George Beverly Shea was born in Winchester, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker on 1 February 1909, the fourth of eight children of Rev. Adam J. Shea (1872-1946), a Wesleyan Methodist Church minister and his wife, Maude Whitney Shea (1881-1971).

Shea's siblings included Pauline Shea Lusk (1902-1991); J. G. Whitney Shea (1904-1994), Captain US Army Air Corps WWII; Mrs Mary E. Shea Robinson, who died on 26 March 2007 at the age of 100; Rev. Alton J. Shea; Mrs Lois Shea Wright (born 1916); Mrs. Ruth Shea Willett; and Mrs. Grace Shea Baker.

Church background

The Shea family served at the Wesleyan Methodist church in Houghton, New Yorkmarker (1917-1921); the Sunnyside Wesleyan Methodist church in Ottawamarker, Ontario, Canadamarker from 1921; at the Willett Memorial Wesleyan Methodist Church at Midler Avenue, Syracuse, New Yorkmarker; and the Jersey City, New Jerseymarker Wesleyan Methodist church during his youth.

Spiritual background

Shea himself indicated that he became a Christian at the age of five or six, however made a re-dedication to Christ when he was 18:
[T]here were times when I needed to rededicate my life to the Lord Jesus.
When I was 18, my dad was pastoring a church in Ottawa, and I was feeling not too spiritual.
The church was having a "special effort," as they called it, for a week.
I remember that on Friday night Dad came down from the pulpit, and tenderly placed his hand on my shoulder.
He whispered, "I think tonight might be the night, son, when you come back to the Lord."
Whatever Dad did or said, I listened to him and respected him.
And, yes, that was the night!


Shea was converted to Christ at the Sunnyside Wesleyan Methodist Church church in Ottawamarker, Ontario, Canadamarker;

Musical background

Shea was taught to play the violin by his father, and the piano and organ by his mother. Shea's deep resonant baritone voice brought early recognition and provided many opportunities for him to sing in his father's church. He began singing at religious meetings in the Ottawa Valley.

Education

Shea attended Annesley College in Ottawa, Ontario, before transferring in 1928 to Houghton Collegemarker in Houghton, New Yorkmarker, where he studied singing with Herman Baker. While studying at Houghton College, Shea sang with the Houghton College Glee Club. Financial difficulties made it necessary for him to terminate his studies in 1929.

Secular employment

After leaving college, Shea became a clerk in the medical department in the New York Citymarker offices of the Mutual of New York Life Insurance Company, where he worked for the next nine years.

Marriages and children

Erma L. Scharfe

Shea married his childhood sweetheart Erma L. Scharfe (1908-1976) on 16 June 1934. Shea and his wife Erma had two children: Ronnie and Elaine.

Shea's children became Christians at an early age. Shea's daughter Elaine became a Christian at the age of 8 during a Billy Graham Crusade at the Cow Palacemarker, San Francisco, Californiamarker in 1958. In 1959, Ron responded to an invitation by Billy Graham during one of the Crusade meetings in Sydney, Australiamarker and was counseled by Grady Wilson.

Erma Shea died in September 1976, and memorial services were held at Western Springs, Illinoismarker on 8 September 1976.

Karlene Aceto

On 19 December 1985 Shea married Karlene Aceto, a 1972 graduate of Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolinamarker. In a September 2007 interview Shea recalled how he met and married his second wife, Karlene:
It has been 20 years of bliss. I was a widower for 10 years in a suburb of Chicago and that's a long time. When we were over in Korea in 1984, Billy brought me into his room and said, 'I've been talking to Ruth my wife in Montreat this morning on the phone and we think that 10 years is enough, and so he mentioned Karlene's name. Mr. Graham didn't do the service. We had pastor of our church here, and he put on his nice robe and we were married in Billy's home.

Shea and his wife, Karlene, reside in a home in Montreat, North Carolinamarker. on the same road as that of Billy Graham's home.

Shea may be contacted by writing to 1300 Harmon PI., Minneapolis, MN 55403.

Ministry

New York (1929-1939)

After work at Mutual Life, Shea continued his singing lessons with Emerson Williams and Manley Price Boone. As a result of the recommendation of American opera baritone John Charles Thomas (born 6 September 1891; died 13 December 1960), Shea studied singing under Gino Monaco, Thomas' own vocal coach.

According to Don Cusic, "Shea also sang at weddings, in church, during tent meetings, on radio, and wherever else he could."

Radio

While working for Mutual Life in New York City, Shea appeared on an amateur hour program hosted by Fred Allen on NBC radio. Despite being beaten into second prize by a yodeler, Shea earned a spot singing popular music on Allen's program, probably a precursor to Allen's Hall Tonight. Although Shea "impressed the critics and scores of fans, he still didn't feel he had discovered a direction for his life".

In 1933 a network radio director heard Shea sing and was sufficiently impressed and arranged an audition to sing popular secular songs for Your Hit Parade, a national program with the Lyn Murray Singers broadcast on the NBC network. Shea passed the audition and was offered a job, but reluctantly turned the position down because he didn’t feel right about performing secular music.

Shea sang regularly on radio station WHN, and on Erling C. Olsen's Meditations in the Psalms broadcast on radio station WMCA, as well as doing 30-minute programs from 7-7:30 am on WKBOmarker in Jersey City, New Jerseymarker. Shea also appeared on WKBOmarker's "the Old Fashioned Gospel Hour." Additionally, Shea also sang on the Young Person's Church of the Air radio program, which had been started by Percy Crawford (1902-1960) in Philadelphia in 1931 on Radio station WIP.

Decca Records

Shea began his recording career at the U.S. branch of Decca Records after being signed by A & R representative Jack Kapp, who told Shea: "If you do better than the singer we have in mind, we will give you a contract. If not, you'll have to take the records on yourself. Shea recorded "Jesus Whispers Peace," "Lead Me Gently Home, Father," "I'd Rather Have Jesus," and "God Understands," accompanied by Ruth Crawford , the wife of Percy Crawford, on the organ. Eventually 7,000 copies were sold.

Chicago (1939-1952)

In 1939 Shea auditioned unsuccessfully for a spot on a CBS radio program that originated in Chicago, Illinoismarker.

WMBI (1939-1944)

Soon after Dr. Will Houghton, president of the Moody Bible Institutemarker (MBI) offered Shea a staff position with "duties that included emceeing, interviewing, news- casting, continuity writing, programming, administration, auditioning, and singing" on radio station WMBImarker, "the powerhouse of evangelical radio", the first non-commercial Christian radio station in America, which was owned and operated by the Moody Bible Institutemarker originally on its campus in Chicagomarker. Initially Shea sang on Houghton's Let's Go Back to the Bible from 1939. Later he was also involved in Miracles and Melodies, which started on 67 radio stations across the USA in 1940, and was broadcast on 187 different stations in 45 US states, Canada, Latin America and China;and in Hymns From the Chapel each morning at 8:15.

Songs in the Night (1944-1952)

On 2 January 1944 Shea began his ministry as a featured soloist on Billy Graham's Songs in the Night weekly radio program, which was broadcast live on Sunday evenings for 45 minutes from 10.15pm from the basement of the Village (Baptist) Church at 4475 Wolf Road, Western Springs, Illinoismarker pastored by Graham, and transmitted on radio station WCFLmarker originating from Chicago, Illinoismarker. The popularity of Shea helped make the previously financially struggling program self-sustaining within weeks. The Drummonds indicate that Shea "skyrocketed the broadcast into a great success", so that soon Songs in the Night was broadcast twice on Sundays.

After eight years Shea turned over his duties on this program to Glen Jordan, so that he could devote his energies full-time to the BGEA.

Club Time (1944-1952)

In June 1944 Shea resigned from WMBI to sing gospel on a 15 minute weekday radio program, Club Time, the second oldest hymn program on commercial radio. Club Time, initially broadcast on Radio station WCFL, was sponsored by Herbert J. Taylor (18 April 1893 – 1 May 1978), a Christian businessman who headed Club Aluminum of Chicago. According to Cusic:
Shea's job was to host the program and sing several songs, including the favorite hymn of various famous people.
It was on "Club Time" that Beverly Shea became George Beverly Shea at the insistence of the advertising agency; it seems they felt most listeners were confused by a man named "Beverly".


Club Time was broadcast nationally from September 1945 for the next seven years over the ABC Radio and Armed Forces Networks and many independent stations. This show brought Shea national recognition, and by 1951 Shea was the most prominent male soloist in gospel music.

Singspiration (1947)

By the summer of 1947, Shea was signed to the Singspiration Sacred Recordings label, which had been founded by Dr. Alfred B. Smith (born 8 November 1916; died 9 August 2001) in 1941, where he sang on a number of 78 rpm albums, including "Bass Baritone" (Singspiration "Treasure Chest Series" LP S-100) and "Lead Me Gently Home, Father" (Singspiration LP 156).

Evangelistic meetings (1942-1947)

Summer of 1942

In the summer of 1942 Shea took a leave of absence from WMBI to join Word Of Life (WOL) evangelist Jack Wyrtzen for evangelistic crusades in the New York area. He spent this summer traveling throughout New Jerseymarker, New Yorkmarker, and Connecticutmarker, singing at youth rallies while also singing on WHN on Sunday mornings.

Youth for Christ (1942)

When Shea returned to Chicago in September 1942, he talked with Torrey Johnson about conducting youth meetings in that area and soon "Chicagoland Youth For Christ" was held in Orchestra Hallmarker on Michigan Avenue, Chicagomarker, with Shea singing and Billy Graham speaking. From this initial concert, Johnson founded Youth for Christ (YFC). Shea sang in YFC rallies across the U.S.A. and Canada.

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (1947 to present)

According to Don Cusic, "Shea and Billy Graham are the prime examples of an evangelical Christianity with mainstream appeal after World War II. Previously, the evangelicals and fundamentalists were on the fringes of American religion; Shea and Graham put it in the mainstream." According to David Poling, "central to Billy's successful ministry are the years of loyal service of people like George Beverly Shea, the first staff member to be hired by Graham back in the Chicago radio days." Shea has been involved as a soloist with Billy Graham and his ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) since 1947.

Shea first met Billy Graham in 1940 while Graham was pastor of the Village Church in Western Springs, Illinoismarker. In a September 2007 interview Shea recalled how he first met Billy Graham:
"One morning, there was a rap on my office door. I looked out and there was a tall young man with blond hair and we shook hands. He was 21 and I was 31. It was Billy Graham and he had traveled in from Wheaton College on a train just to say 'hello.' He said he listened to my morning hymn show called 'Hymns From The Chapel.' That's how we first got acquainted. "I came into this work with Mr. Graham in 1947 after we had exchanged letters and talked on the phone. He said he wanted me to be his gospel singer. I thanked him, but told him the only gospel singers I've ever heard about would sing a verse or two and stop and talk awhile. 'Would I have to do that?' I asked him. He chuckled and said, 'I hope not.' With that, I said, 'Well, I'd like to come with you. That was in November of 1947 and I've been with him ever since."

In 1948 Shea, along with Graham, Barrows and Grady Wilson, formulated a set of ethical guidelines, later designated The Modesto Manifesto, that became the cornerstone of the BGEA. Shea, along with Graham, Barrows, Grady Wilson and George Wilson, is one of the five directors of the BGEA.

Billy Graham Crusades (1947 to present)

Shea sang at the unofficial launching of Graham's crusades in the old Armory in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker in November 1947. His first song was "I Will Sing the Wondrous Story". In the early days of his association with Graham, Shea earned a wage for each meeting.

Since the beginning of Graham's crusade ministry, Shea and Cliff Barrows have been the nucleus of the crusade musical team. Barrows is choir director, platform emcee, and radio-television program director. They were joined in 1950 by pianist Tedd Smith, and through the years, organists Don Hustad and John Innes have provided additional accompaniment.

Shea's role in Billy Graham Crusades
As the musical mainstay in Graham's crusades, Shea is often called "America's Beloved Gospel Singer." In each crusade, Shea "brings a quiet solo immediately preceding ... Graham's message. His solo serves as a transition from the song service into the message." Collins indicates: "Shea's solos set the tone for the preacher's messages. With his full, rich baritone, Shea not only charmed audiences, he also touched them with the message of each song he chose." Graham said that Shea always prepared his crowds by singing before the message, and he felt the song was more powerful than the sermon. According to Billy Graham in a 2002 interview in The Ottawa Citizen,"I've been listening to Bev Shea sing for more than 50 years, and I would still rather hear him sing than anyone else I know."

Shea himself indicated the importance of his solo: "Billy looks forward to the solo before the message as a time for people to quiet down and for him to gather strength."

Shea also made a valuable contribution to the increased effectiveness of Graham's crusades. According to R. Alan Streett:
For a number of years the entire congregation sang the invitational hymn, until Bev Shea suggested that the choir alone handle the assignment. Shea remembered how he, as an eighteen-year-old lad, was convicted by the Spirit as a choir sang "Just As I Am." He felt the effects of a soft choir number could be used by God to touch people's hearts.

One day Shea suggested to Graham:
Have you ever thought of saying, "As the choir sings, you come?"
With just the choir singing there might be more contemplation upon the Holy Spirit's call.
Soon after that, for the first time in his growing ministry, he began to say at the close of every service, "As the choir sings, you come!"


Hour of Decision (1950)

The Hour of Decision radio program was produced in the recording studio of Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker. On 5 December 1950 the Hour of Decision radio broadcasts began in Atlanta, Georgiamarker on 150 radio stations. By its fifth week, Hour of Decision had the largest audience of any religious radio program in history. By 1952 Shea sang regularly on this program.

Because of Shea's weekly singing on the Hour of Decision radio broadcast since 1950 and his numerous personal appearances, his voice is recognized now in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, and throughout North America.

Recording career (1951 to present)

Shea has recorded approximately 500 vocal solos on more than seventy albums (including nine compact discs) of religious music on both the RCA and Word Records labels. Shea has recorded songs with orchestral accompaniment, as arranged and conducted by musical directors, such as Hugo Winterhalter, Ralph Carmichael, Bill Walker, Nathan Scott, Norman Leyden, Jimmy Owens, Kurt Kaiser, Danny Davis, Charles Grean, and Radio City Music Hallmarker organist, Ray Bohr. His albums have been produced by RCA’s Steve Sholes, Brad McCuen, Darol Rice, Cliff Barrows, Don Hustad, Bill Fasig, and John Innes.

RCA (1951)

In 1951 Shea was signed to the RCA record label by Sam Wallace and Elmer Eades, after being "discovered" by Paul Barkmeyer. His first album was entitled Inspirational Songs produced by Stephen H. Sholes (born 12 February 1911; died 22 April 1968), and backed by the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra. During Shea's first four years with RCA, his records did not recover the cost of recording and pressing, but by the end of the 1950s he enjoyed major record success.

Notable songs

Shea is best known for his rendition of "How Great Thou Art", the English translation by Rev. Stuart K. Hine of the Swedishmarker song "O Store Gud", written in 1886 by Rev. Carl Boberg (1859-1940). Arguably Shea's most popular hymn is "The Wonder of It All", the title of which was also used by the University of North Carolina Center for Public Television for their 1998 production of his life story.

Song writing

I'd Rather Have Jesus (1932)

In 1932 Shea composed the tune to "I'd Rather Have Jesus", the words of which were written by Rhea F. Miller (1894-1966), the wife of Dr Howard Miller, later a general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene. In his book, How Sweet the Sound, Shea tells the story of his role in "I'd Rather Have Jesus":
At the age of twenty-three, I was living at home with my parents, continuing to work at Mutual Life Insurance and studying voice. Going to the piano one Sunday morning, I found a poem waiting for me there. I recognized my mother's handwriting. She had copied the words of a poem by Mrs. Rhea F. Miller, knowing that I would read the beautiful message, which speaks of choice. As I read these precious words:


I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause.

I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause.


I found myself singing the words in a melody that expressed the feelings of my heart."

When RCA signed Shea to a recording contract, "the song that the company chose to initially spotlight their new singer was "I'd Rather Have Jesus".

The Wonder of It All (1955)

Shea also wrote both the lyrics and music of "The Wonder of It All", which was copyrighted originally by Chancel Music in 1956. Shea gives this account of writing this hymn in his book Songs That Lift the Heart:
England figures in the story behind this hymn written in 1955. I was on my way to Scotland for meetings there aboard the SS United Statesmarker bound for Southamptonmarker when inspiration came from conversation with another passenger. He wanted to know what went on at our meetings and after detailing the sequence of things at a typical Billy Graham Crusade meeting, I found myself at a loss for words when I tried to describe the response that usually accompanied Mr. Graham's invitation to become a Christian. "What happens then never becomes commonplace ... watching people by the hundreds come forward ... oh, if you could just see the wonder of it all. "I think I should', he answered. Then he wrote these words on a card and handed it back to me: the wonder of it all. "That sounds like a song to me." Later that night, I wrote words on that theme and roughed out a melody to go with them.


Other songs

Shea also composed "Sing Me A Song of Sharon's Rose," "I Love Thy Presence, Lord," and "He's with Me."

Writing career

Shea has authored a number of books including an autobiography, Then Sings My Soul (1968); Songs That Lift the Heart (1972); How Sweet the Sound (2004); and Stories Behind 50 Southern Gospel Favorites, Vol. 2 (2005).

Film and television career

Television appearances

Hour of Decision (1951-1954)
Shea appeared on television on Billy Graham's Hour of Decision television program that was broadcast for three years from 1951 in primetime on Sunday evenings on the ABC television network.

Madison Garden Crusade (Summer 1957)
Shea sang "How Great Thou Art" in the ABC live telecasts each Saturday evening from 1 June of Billy Graham's Crusade in Madison Square Gardenmarker, in New York citymarker in the summer of 1957. These telecasts attracted an average audience of over 6.4 million viewers.

The Wonder of It All (1998)
In 1998 North Carolina Public Television produced "The Wonder of It All", a television program on his life story.

George Beverly Shea (2009)
North Carolina Public Television's news program "North Carolina Now" interviewed Shea. Mitchell Lewis conducted a four part interview with the man known as "America's Most Beloved Gospel Singer,"

Films

Oiltown, U.S.A. (1953)
Shea's first theatrical film was Oiltown, U.S.A., which was produced in 1953 by the BGEA's World Wide Pictures.

The Mighty Fortress (1955)
Shea performed the hymn Amazing Grace in The Mighty Fortress, a 1955 newsreel film of the Billy Graham's 1954 Crusade for Europe, that was produced and directed by Paul Short.

Pilgrim's Progress (1977)
In Ken Anderson's 1977 film Pilgrim's Progress, Shea was the narrator, and Oscar-winning actor Liam Neeson made his film debut.

Then Sings My Soul (1984)
In 1984 Shea featured in Then Sings My Soul, a film musical/documentary produced by World Wide Pictures.

The New Orleans Story (2008)
Shea appeared as himself in the 2008 documentary on the effects of Hurrican Katrina in The New Orleans Story written and directed by Stephen Rue.

Awards and honors

During his career, Shea was nominated for ten Grammy Awards, winning on 15 March 1966 the 1965 Best Gospel or Other Religious Recording for his album "Southland Favorites" (RCA LSP-3440) recorded with the Anita Kerr Quartet.

In 1978, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association and for his lifelong contribution to gospel music. On 18 February 1982 Shea was awarded the Gold Angel Award for Country Music award by Religion in Media in Hollywood, Californiamarker.

The Christian Holiness Association (now Christian Holiness Partnership) presented Shea its Christian Service Award in 1993. In 1996 the association of National Religious Broadcasters voted Shea into its "Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame."

On 11 September 1999 Shea received the Integrity Award from Marketplace Ministries in Dallas, Texasmarker. Shea also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gospel Music Association Canada (GMA Canada) in 2004. He was presented the Edwin P. Hubble Medal of Initiative, the highest honor of the city of Marshfield, Missourimarker in 2007 by friend, Reverend Nicholas W. Inman. Shea sang at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library the following day.

Honorary degrees

In 1956 Shea received an honorary doctorate, the Doctor of Fine Arts, from his alma mater, Houghton Collegemarker. In 1972, Shea received another honorary doctorate, the Doctor of Sacred Music (D Sacred MUS), from Trinity College (now Trinity International University) of Deerfield, Illinoismarker.

Later years

Shea celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday 1 February 2009. It was mentioned by the NBC network's The Today Show's Willard Scott on January 29, 2009, and ABC's Paul Harvey on January 31, 2009.

Biography

Shea is the subject of an authorised biography George Beverly Shea: Tell Me the Story by Paul Davis, to be released in the American spring of 2009.A good book that Shea wrote, How Sweet the Sound, has gospel songs and the history of the songs and how it applies to his life.

References in popular culture

Shea and How Great Thou Art are mentioned in Patricia Cornwell's 1998 best-selling novel Hornet's Nest. There is an allusion to Shea in Brad Whittington's coming of age novel Living with Fred. Shea is mentioned in the Christian novel The Peacemakers, the final volume in Jack Cavanaugh's "American Family Portrait" series.

References

  1. Michael Ireland, "America’s ’Beloved Gospel Singer,’ George Beverly Shea, to Celebrate 100th Birthday" ASSIST News Service (30 January 2009); http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2009/s09010194.htm (accessed 3 February 2009).
  2. Melvin L. Butler, "Globalization of Gospel", in Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, ed. W. K. McNeil (Routledge, 2005):139.
  3. Don Cusic, The Sound of Light: A History of Gospel Music (Popular, 1990):182.
  4. "George Beverly Shea of Canada has sung to the most people during his career on every continent in front of 220 million people, since first becoming the soloist for gospel preacher Billy Graham in 1943 on the radio show “Songs in The Night””; http://www.georgebeverlysheamusic.com/
  5. http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/allegany/pleasant/pleasant.htm
  6. http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/allegany/pleasant/pleasant.htm
  7. Michael Ireland, "America’s ’Beloved Gospel Singer,’ George Beverly Shea, to Celebrate 100th Birthday" ASSIST News Service (30 January 2009); http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2009/s09010194.htm (accessed 3 February 2009).
  8. http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/allegany/pleasant/pleasant.htm
  9. http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/allegany/pleasant/pleasant.htm
  10. "Death Notices for the week of April 1, 2007", Westside News, Spencerport, New York; http://www.westsidenewsonline.com/OldSite/westside/news/2007/0401/deaths.html
  11. Alton Shea was married to Aileen Ortlip (born Philadelphia, PA on 5 August 1911; died Houghton, NY on 24 March 2007), age 95 - Daughter of H. Willard & Aimee Ortlip; married 1938; Awarded 1935-36 Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship in Art; also Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by Houghton College in 1991; http://www.paintedhills.org/ALLEGANY/MtPleasantCaneadea.html; FACES ARE MY JOY ART EXHIBIT HONORS AILEEN ORTLIP SHEA (3 July 2008); http://www.houghton.edu/news/articles/20080703.asp
  12. http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/allegany/pleasant/pleasant.htm
  13. "Former Residents of Dewitt, NY -Circa 1940-1960"; http://ehutchison.homestead.com/DeWittRegistry6.html (accessed 9 February 2009); "Edward J. Willett and Ruth Shea Willett lived at 107 Butternut Dr. by 1948. He was the vice-president of the Dietrich Supply Co. and was lay leader of the Willett Memorial Church--a Wesleyan Methodist church in Eastwood named for his father, Rev. John S. Willett, who had been the church's pastor for many years. Mr. Willett was active in many evangelical causes and charities, including the Rescue Mission, and, in 1953, he headed a committee which sponsored the Rev. Billy Graham's crusade at the War Memorial in Syracuse. Mrs. Willett was a 1941 summa cum laude graduate of Houghton College--a Wesleyan Church liberal arts school south of Rochester. She was the daughter of Rev. Adam J. Shea, and the sister of world-famous gospel singer, George Beverly Shea. After leaving DeWitt Acres, the Willetts lived on Randall Rd., and in Houghton, Syracuse, and Gainsville, GA, where Mr. Willett died on 3-10-2004. The couple had four children: Daniel S. Willett, who wed Karen Mikesell, was an executive at Syracuse University, and resided in Fayetteville at his death on 9-21-1989, Dr. Thomas L. Willett, who was a missionary associated with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Durango, Mexico, and lives now in Tucson, Christine Willett Greenwald, who lives in Findley Lake, NY, and Holly Willett Gillette, who was a graduate of Houghton College, wed Rev. John Gillette, and died on 6-1-1997, at 41.
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  156. Patricia Cornwell, Hornet's Nest, Large Print ed. (Berkley Books, 1998):26.
  157. Brad Whittington, Living with Fred (B&H Publishing Group, 2005):105.
  158. Jack Cavanaugh, The Peacemakers (David C. Cook, 2006):402.


Further reading

Gregory, Andy, "George Beverly Shea", 463. In International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002. 4th ed. Routledge, 2002.

External links




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