Sherrill Nielsen Obituary
Sherrill "Shaun" Nielsen photos Sherrill "Shaun" Nielsen photos

There are 18 photos in the gallery

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Sherrill "Shaun" Nielsen

September 10, 1942 - December 10, 2010
Obituary

Famous Southern Gospel Singer and Elvis Presley's favorite singer, Sherill "Shaun" Nielsen, went to be with his Lord and Saviour on Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. His devoted wife, Brenda Hall Nielsen, was by his side and held his hand as he crossed over the River Jordan. The great Southern Gospel Concert and Homecoming Celebration of Sherrill's life and ministry will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, in the Family Life Center at the First Church of Nazarene, 5415 AL Hwy 157, Cullman, AL with Pastor Aaron Coffey officiating., under the direction of Moss Funeral Services, 1901 2nd Ave, N.W., Cullman, AL. Visitation will be from noon to 2...
Famous Southern Gospel Singer and Elvis Presley's favorite singer, Sherill "Shaun" Nielsen, went to be with his Lord and Saviour on Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. His devoted wife, Brenda Hall Nielsen, was by his side and held his hand as he crossed over the River Jordan.

The great Southern Gospel Concert and Homecoming Celebration of Sherrill's life and ministry will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, in the Family Life Center at the First Church of Nazarene, 5415 AL Hwy 157, Cullman, AL with Pastor Aaron Coffey officiating., under the direction of Moss Funeral Services, 1901 2nd Ave, N.W., Cullman, AL. Visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the church.

Music, song and praise will be performed by many legends in the Southern 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, Monday, Dec. 20, in Tyler, TX.

He was born Sept. 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 today. 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 Highly Treasure."

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 Southern 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 Association 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 lineup 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, and 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 December 1963. They went their separate ways in 1967 and 40 years after the fact, the two lovebirds 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.

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; and a 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 June 2004; sister, Sharon Stoenner, Jacksonville FL; sister, Jane Whitaker, Windsor, CN; brother, Steve Stoenner, Taylors, SC; and 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 called Henrik his son.

Share your memories or express your condolences by signing the Guest Book below or click here for entry suggestions.

"You were the best in my book." Pamela Wallace (Jayess, MS)

Submit Guest Book Entry
This Guest Book has 83 entries. View Complete Guest Book

Personalize Your Tribute

Share photos, videos and more with Legacy Memorial Websites. Find out more.

 
Start Planning Today

Make Your Plan Today

Preplanning your funeral or cemetery arrangements gives you and your loved ones peace of mind. Don't wait. Make your plan online today.
Plan Online Now
Send a Card
Send Meals to the Family

Audio Condolences

Use your phone to dial in a free personalized message. Click here to make an entry or listen to recordings from friends and family.