Cleland Boyd McAfee (September 25, 1866 – February 4, 1944) was an American theologian, Presbyterian minister and hymn writer, best known for penning the gospel hymn, "Near to the Heart of God," and its tune called "McAfee". He wrote the song after the concurrent deaths of two of his young nieces, caused by diphtheria.
McAfee was born in Ashley Missouri, in 1866, as one of five children. His father, John A. McAfee, was the founder of Park College in Parkville, Missouri. The younger McAfee graduated from Park College in 1884, and later graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York. McAfee went on to serve as a professor of philosophy, choir director, pastor and dean of Park College until 1901, when he left to minister at the Fir… Go to person page >