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Celebrity Birthday +104

George Beverly Shea
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
As I recall, it happened about once, maybe twice a year. The Billy Graham Crusade would come to that little black and white TV in that little living room on the little farm a mile south of Leota, Minnesota.

We only got 2 stations in those days, KELO and KSOO, which has since become KSFY. For a magical week, Billy Graham would stand in front of a baseball stadium full of people, 5 straight nights, 7-8PM and do what he did best: Preach.

Now, if truth be known, I wasn’t exactly excited about the prospect of watching a preacher ever night for a week! Heck, I had already sat in church that past Sunday morning listening (well, kind of) to Rev. Reeverts, then Rev. Bovendam. Wasn’t that enough?

No it wasn’t, not when Billy Graham was on! And sure enough, slowly but surely the magic would happen. I’d find myself mesmerized by the voice, the passion, the cadence of words that spilled from his mouth. It was almost like a song, paced perfectly and what a great resonance. He had “it”, whatever “it” was.

Now hold on….I’m not saying that at nine or ten years old I ‘heard the call’. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say that. No, but what I did hear was the ‘voice’ and I loved the way it sounded.

And then there was that singer. Wow, who was that?? A deep voice, beautiful, that would just roll across that stadium and into our television. I specifically remember “How Great Thou Art”, booming, forceful, yet somehow comforting and peaceful. Who was that guy?

I mean who was that guy?

Well, that guy was a Canadian named George Beverly Shea. I don’t know how long he was a part of the Billy Graham Crusade, but I do remember that when the Crusade came to that little TV south of Leota, Minnesota, I would wait to hear him. I’m not proud to say it but…there aren’t very many ‘religious’ singers I could say that about as a kid.

Well, listen to this: Let’s, you and I, give a big ‘shout out’ to George Beverly Shea. Yep, it’s his birthday today, February 1st.

Mr. Shea is 104 years old today. Mr. Shea, thank you for those warm memories of a little boy on the farm watching Billy Graham speak so beautifully and you singing so wonderfully.

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