|SHERRILL (SHAUN) NIELSEN - A TRIBUTE
1942 - 2010
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Famous Southern Gospel Singer and Elvis Presley’s favorite singer, SHERRILL
(SHAUN) NIELSEN, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, December 10,
2010. His devoted wife, Brenda Hall Nielsen, was by his side and held his hand as
he crossed over the River Jordan.
Services will be under the direction of Moss Funeral Services, 1901 2nd Ave, N.W.,
Cullman, AL. The great So. Gospel Concert and Homecoming Celebration of Sherrill’
s life and ministry will be held at the First Church of Nazarene, 5415 AL Hwy 157,
Cullman, AL with Pastor Aaron Coffey officiating. Music, song and praise will be
performed by many legends in the So. Gospel world of music.
Sherrill (Shaun) Nielsen, will be flown to the great state of Texas and buried next to
Sherrill and Brenda’s only child, SherRee’ Elicia Nielsen, in the Cathedral in the
Pines Cemetery, in Tyler, TX.
He was born September 10, 1942, in Montgomery, AL to Virginia Evelyn Jackson and
Charlie Whitaker. He graduated from Robert E. Lee in Montgomery AL and then onto
Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville, TN. He then proudly served his country
serving in the Air Force with the Air Force Strategic Command Band, Omaha, NE.
Little did the world know what to expect when Sherrill was born. God gave him one of the most amazing tenor voices around. Sherrill started his singing
career at the age of 4 singing in his local Nazarene Church in Montgomery AL, where Mom and Dad Speer attended. Sherrill started his professional music
career at the tender age of 14. He won the Mr. America Youth Singer at the Coliseum in Montgomery AL. At age 15, he cut his first solo LP – A Name I
In 1961, he joined the Singing Speer Family. While with the Singing Speer Family he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. This was the
stepping stone for his legendary 50 plus year career in So. Gospel Music. Sherrill teamed up with Jake Hess and formed the Illustrious Imperial Quartet,
which won him another induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
In late 1966, Sherrill moved to California and re-joined the Songfellows Quartet headed
up by Bob Jones, Sr. He then moved on to the Plainsmen who was working with Gov.
Jimmie Davis. Then had a solo career and later put together a group that Elvis later
named VOICE. He was singing at the Grand Ole Opry when he got the call from the
Elvis Presley Assn. to become Elvis’ backup singer. He stayed with Elvis, as a solo act,
up until Elvis’ death in 1977.
It is well documented by Felton Jarvis, Elvis’ producer that Sherrill was Elvis’ favorite
singer. In 1977, Elvis and Sherrill’s duet, “Softly As I Leave You" was nominated for
a Grammy as “Duet of the Year”. Elvis always told him - “Sherrill, God loves you, but He
loves you best when you sing”.
He then joined Hovie Lister and the Sensational Statesmen. What a line up of talent, the best of the best. Hovie Lister, Doy Ott, Jim Hill, Big Chief and
Sherrill. This earned him another induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Later the group transitioned into the Masters V.
In 1990, Sherrill moved to his grandfathers homeland of Denmark and stayed there for 14 years. While residing in Denmark, he began writing gospel
music, he introduced Southern Gospel Music to the churches, performed concerts and traveled all over Europe. In 2004, he got a life changing e-mail from
Houston TX and moved to Houston in June 2004. The life changing message was from his first love, Brenda Hall, whom he married in Dec 1963. They went
their separate ways in 1967 and 40 years after the fact, the two love birds got back together, remarried and thus, he put VOICE back together.
Sherrill and Brenda performed as a duo, traveling all over the world. Sherrill just recently put together a premier gospel group “Sherrill Nielsen and VOICE,
consisting of Mike Martin, Nick Fike, Sean McCaw and Sherrill.
Sherrill’s ministry has touched hearts and lives all over the world. He received two Legendary Awards for his dedication to gospel music, a Proclamation
from the Governor of Alabama, and in June 2011 was scheduled to be honored by the Music City Gospel Showcase as “As Pioneer and Legendary
Performer”. In March 2010, Sherrill was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. He lived his life with dignity and lived his life to the fullest.
You can read more about this amazing legend and his legacy at their website www.sherrillandbrenda.com
Preceding him in death are his grandparents, Christian Richard and Virgie Lee Jeter. His grandparents adopted him, thus, allowing him to become Sherrill
(Shaun) Nielsen. Also preceding him in death was their only daughter, SherRee’ Elicia Nielsen, who was killed on her 20th birthday by a drunk driver.
Survivors include his wife and the love of his life, Brenda Hall Nielsen. They were first married in 1963, went their separate ways in 1967, and remarried
Sister, Sharon Stoenner, Jacksonville FL
Sister, Jane Whitaker, Windsor, CN
Brother, Steve Stoenner, Taylors, SC
Brother, Gary Whitaker, Windsor, CN
He has cousins in the Cullman area - Dr. John Nielsen, Tommy Nielsen, Christian Nielsen and their sister, Nancy Davis from Jackson MS (all children of the
late Dr. Elmer and Annie Lee Nielsen).
Sherrill and Brenda have many friends that may not be blood relatives but have and hold a special place in their heart. Henrik and Mette Salomon from
Svendborg, Denmark are at the top of that list. Sherrill calls Henrik his son.
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|(Sherill Nielsen - A Tribute compiled and edited by Arjan Deelen. For Elvis Express Radio, used with permission)