On Wednesday, February 21st, at 7:33 am; Billy Graham passed away peacefully. Billy was 99 years old and was going to turn 100 in November.
Billy was born on November 7th, 1918 in Charlotte, NC. His real name was William Franklin Graham, Jr. and his parents were William and Morrow Graham. He was raised on a dairy farm with his three other siblings. At the age of 16, he was already going to evangelist meetings.
For education, Billy went to Bob Jones College in Tennessee after high school. He felt he didn't really connect with Bob Jones College, so he transferred to Florida Bible Institute. Billy then joined a Southern Baptist Convention Church and got ordained in 1939. He then graduated from Florida with a bachelor's in theology, and moved to famous Wheaton College in Illinois. There he met his wife Ruth McCue Bell, and they got married on August 13, 1943. Ruth and Billy had five children and 19 grandchildren.
Billy pastored the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, and then left to join Youth for Christ (teaching young people about God). In 1947, Billy Graham became president of Northwestern Schools, Minnesota. In 1948, he resigned from Youth for Christ. He stayed with Northwestern Schools until 1952, which then he resigned to solely focus on preaching.
In 1992, Billy announced that he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus (similar to Parkinson's Disease). William Franklin Graham III was chosen to take over BGEA after his dad's retirement. In 2005, Billy and Ruth retired to their home in Montreat, North Carolina. In 2007, Ruth passed away from pneumonia and degenerative osteoarthritis.
Billy was awarded the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion, the Big Brother Award, the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the Speaker of the Year Award, and was given the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Billy Graham will always be remembered.
Story by Margaret Derry