A Look At Billy Graham’s Life Achievements And The Family He Left

Every year since 1948, the Gallup Polls publishes a list of top 10 “Most Admired Man” and another for the “Most Admired Woman” on earth. Since then, the highest number of appearances a single person has made on either list is 61. Incidentally, that person is Billy Graham (now of blessed memory). Billy tops these prestigious lists far ahead of personalities like Queen Elizabeth II (49 times), Margaret Thatcher (34 times) and President Ronald Reagan (31 times). Some other interesting people on these lists are Oprah Winfrey (30 times), Jimmy Carter (28 times), Pope John Paul II (27 times) and Nelson Mandela (20 times).

Then on December 9, 1992, The New York Times (NYT) published an article entitled ‘The Transition; Billy Graham To Lead Prayers’. The article reported that Billy Graham had been billed to lead the prayers at the inauguration of Bill Clinton as the U.S. President. What’s more? The article described Billy as “the evangelist who has been a spiritual adviser to several presidents”. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)’s website corroborates this NYT claim in an article entitled Billy Graham: Pastor To presidents. The BGEA article claims that every U.S. President since the second world war has sought an audience with Billy Graham.

With such an absolutely imposing personality, who is this Billy Graham really? What did he have to offer that made a long line of 13 U.S. presidents willingly seek his counsel as reliably reported? What are the influences that shaped Billy Graham’s life and made it so legendary? These and many more are the questions we will be trying to answer in this short but incisive piece.

Who Was Billy Graham?

Billy was born William Franklin Graham Jr on November 7, 1918. His father was Franklin William Graham Snr and his mother was Morrow Graham. Not lucky enough to receive even the most basic maternity care at birth, Billy was born in the bedroom of a farmhouse his family inhabited at the time. His father was a country dairy farmer in Charlotte North Carolina and he raised all of his children in the Reformed Presbyterian Church which formed the foundation of Graham’s service to God and the church.

But, at the age of 16, young Billy began to meet the influences that would ultimately define the unique path of his faith and career. That was when he got a peculiarly strong interest in the preaching of an itinerant evangelist named Mordecai Ham. With this interest, Billy attended series and series of Ham’s evangelistic meetings.

We have no information as to where Billy Graham attended elementary and high schools. But the information available shows that he went to Bob Jones College (now Bob Jones University) in Tennessee. He went there specifically to enroll in the college’s conservative Christian school as a result of the impact Ham’s preaching had on him. But then, he soon found the school too legalistic and left it.

After this, Billy Graham went to Florida Bible Institute where he got a bachelor’s in theology preparing to become a pastor. He eventually received ordination as a pastor under the Southern Baptist Convention Church. Still hungry for more knowledge, Billy went to the prestigious Wheaten College where he studied anthropology. That was also where he met his wife Ruth. Billy married Ruth in mid-August 1943.

After pastoring a couple of local churches for a few years, Billy Graham’s work as an open-air evangelist began in 1947 when he was 29 and took up all of his lifetime so that by the time he was dying in 2018, it was reported that he had conducted over 400 crusades in more than 180 countries and territories spread over six continents!

READ   All The Truths About Jenelle Evans Family and What She Is Known For

However,  an important part of Billy’s work on earth that no one seems to talk much about is his civil rights activism. His relentless criticism of the arrogant racial stance of his fellow whites helped the work of Martin Luther King Jr a lot. At a time that racial segregation was at its peak in the US, Billy Graham used his gospel crusades as an opportunity to encourage racial integration. In one case, he is reported to have torn down the ropes the organizers used to separate people of different races at his meeting.

Members of His Family: Wife, Children, And Grandchildren

billy graham wife children grandchildren
Billy Graham seated with his wife Ruth, children and grandchildren

Billy Graham married his wife Ruth on August 13, 1943. He was around 25 then while Ruth was 23. The couple remained married until Ruth’s death in 2007.

In their 64 years of marriage, the couple had five children together: The first child Virginia Leftwich was born in 1945. Ann followed in 1948. The third child Ruth was born in 1950. The fourth child and first son Franklin was born in 1952. Then Nelson Edman, the last child, and second son was born in 1958.

Ultimately, each of Billy Graham’s children took after him in ministry one way or another. For instance, Virginia is a popular speaker and author. Ann runs a Christian organization named AnGel Ministries. Ruth is the Founder and President of Ruth Graham And Friends which hosts conferences across North America. Franklin currently serves as the president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and its charity arm, Samaritan’s Purse. Finally, Nelson is the head of East Gate Ministries International which is carrying out literature-based Christian evangelism in China.

As you should expect, Graham has so many grandchildren. There is William Graham Tullian Tchividjian who is a former pastor and Christian book author. He wrote One Way Love and It Is Finished. There is also Will Graham, an evangelist and author too. Will wrote Redeemed: Devotions For The Longing Soul. Then, there is a particularly fiery granddaughter of the great preacher named Jerushah Armfield who shares her grandfather’s dislike for racial prejudice. She is an avid critic of President Donald Trump. She also criticizes white American evangelicals for being racist against former President Obama while condoning the excesses of President Trump.

Also read: Top 10 Richest Pastors In The World

His Net Worth Before Death

In his over 70 years in the ministry, Billy Graham wrote no less than 34 books, many of which became bestsellers as soon as they were published. Currently, all these books are still earning royalties. Although a huge part of these earnings is said to be going to charitable causes via his organization, Samaritan’s Purse, Billy’s estate still retains a substantial amount. So, as of 2019, Billy was reportedly worth an estimated $25 million.

Death and How He Died

Billy Graham suffered from hydrocephalus from when he was 74. From then on, his health continued to fail and his public appearances became rare. Yet, he kept using every opportunity at his disposal to preach the gospel.

READ   Breaking Down Dental Hygienists Salary And How Much They Make

Eventually, Billy died at the age of 99 on February 21, 2018. His death occurred at his home in Montreal, North Carolina. After a private funeral on March 2, 2018, Billy Graham was laid to rest beside his wife at the Prayer Garden in Billy Graham Library. Billy Graham died just months to attaining the symbolic centenary age.

Chinedu Nweke
A graduate of Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome, Italy, Chinedu Desmond Nweke is a computer teacher, writer and a humanist.


Trevor Noah Just Bought $27.5 Million Bel Air Mansion Mansion: What is His Net Worth and Salary?

When South African comedian Trevor Noah took over as host of The Daily Show in 2015, there were mumblings as to whether he would...

Critical Details About Hilary Duff’s Net Worth, Husband and Kids

Hilary Duff is far more than just an actress. Born on the 28th of September 1987 in Houston, Texas, Hilary's career took off around...

The Dynamics Of Anderson Cooper’s Net Worth and Gay Relationships

Anderson Cooper is an American journalist, television personality, and author with a net worth of $200 million. With no formal journalistic education, Cooper became...

Truths About Carmelo Anthony’s Net Worth and Relationships Since Marriage & Separation From La La

Carmelo Anthony is an American professional basketball player who was born on May 29, 1984, in Brooklyn, New York. Carmelo developed a passion for...

The 23 Richest American Idol Contestants And Their Net Worth

The American Idol successfully ran for 15 seasons from its premiere in June 2002 to its finale in April 2016. The singing talent show...

Analysis of Tony Stewart’s Net Worth and Facts About His Wife or Girlfriend

Tony Stewart is an American stock car racing driver who retired from NASCAR in 2016 with an estimated net worth of $90 million. Throughout his...

Eden McCoy – Interesting Details About The General Hospital Actress

Entertainment is round the clock in America and at the heart of it are soap operas. One that has been on the air for...

Who Is Yaron Varsano, What Does He Do And When Did He Become Gal Gadot’s Husband?

When it comes to power couples, there are a variety of options to pick from, especially in the entertainment industry, where there is no...

Who Is Ayisha Diaz? Here Are 5 Facts About The Love & Hip Hop: New York Star

Ayisha Diaz is a video vixen who has featured in the music video of top music acts including Nicki Minaj, Drake, Chris Brown, Meek Mill and while fans...

Is Andy Cohen Gay? Who is The Husband or Partner and What is His Net Worth?

Andy Cohen is an American talk show/TV host, radio host, producer and author who has a net worth of $50 million. Andy Cohen made most...

Who Is Anastasia Baranova? Is She Married And How Did She Become Famous?

The stunning movie star, Anastasia Baranova, has become one of the most popular Russian-American actresses currently making waves in the American entertainment industry. The...

What We Know About T Pain’s Wife, Net Worth and The Meaning of His Tattoos

Tallahassee Pain, or T-Pain, as the world knows him, is one of the most influential musicians in modern history. His popularization and creative use...

Featured Today

What Is Wrong With Barron Trump, Is He Really Autistic? Where Is He Now?

Autism is prevalent and can affect people of all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups. The disorder, which limits a person's ability to relate and...

Captivating Facts About Nicole Lz’s Divorce and Relationship With Adam Lz

There are many ways to become popular in this day and age. A few people have achieved fame by being good at what they...

Understanding Scottie Pippen’s Net Worth and Details About His Wife and Children

Scottie Pippen is an American retired professional basketball player who is best known for his days with NBA's Chicago Bulls where he accomplished tremendous...

20 Richest Black (African American) Actors and Actresses and Their Net Worth

Over the years, Forbes has annually published a list of the highest-paid actors and actresses in Hollywood as well as the highest-paid TV stars...

Does Patrick Mahomes Have A Wife Or Girlfriend And Who Are His Parents?

All American football enthusiasts around the world will agree that Patrick Mahomes II has the talent and temperament to be the next record-shattering quarterback...

Related Stories