The Reverend Billy Graham died just before 8am this morning. He was 99 years old.
Born on November 7, 1918 in Charlotte, William F. Graham was of Scottish descent, the son of William Franklin and Morrow Coffey Graham. The Grahams were dairy farmers, and young Billy was reared on their farm approximately four miles from the current location of the Graham Library. The Grahams attended the local Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
In 1933, when Prohibition ended, Graham’s father forced him and his sister Katherine to drink beer until they became sick…both avoided alcohol and drugs for the rest of their lives, according to his autobiography. Because he was “too worldly,” Graham was declined membership in a local youth group and was persuaded to visit Mordecai Ham, an evangelist. During Ham’s revival meetings in Charlotte, Graham was converted in 1934 at age 16.
Graduating from Sharon High School in 1936, Graham then attended Bob Jones College, located then in Cleveland, Tennessee, but he found it too legalistic in both coursework and rules. So he transferred to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College) where he graduated in 1940. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois in 1943, the same year he married the former Ruth McCue Bell.
Born from Presbyterian parents, Ruth’s missionary childhood in China ended when she went with her parents on furlough to Montreat, North Carolina, a quiet scenic village near Asheville. She finished high school there and then enrolled in Wheaton College where she met, “The Preacher,” a nickname given her future husband by their classmates.(more…)