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   12 Richest Princesses In The World And Their Sources Of Wealth

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   Hugh Hefner's Younger Days, Death and Life Quotes

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.


A Reveal of Greta Thunberg’s Net Worth and How The Activist Gets Money

Greta Thunberg is a young activist who has defied all odds to make her voice heard across the globe with her awareness about the...

Bob Dylan Net Worth – How Much Money Does The ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ Singer Make?

Not many songwriters can say they have won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Indeed, not many singers can say they have sold nine-figures worth...

Untold Truth Of About Axl Rose Of Guns N’ Roses

Axl Rose is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He is best known as the lead singer of the highly successful rock band Guns N'...

Erin Everly Wiki – Inside The Life of Axl Rose’s Former Wife

If you are familiar with the popular rock star and the lead singer of the hard metal rock band known as Guns N’Roses, then...

What Is Bruce Willis Net Worth and Who Are His Family Members?

Bruce Willis is a well known Hollywood action movie star. With over 3 decades and counting in the industry, the Die Hard star has shown...

Bill O’Reilly Personal Life and Career, Net Worth, and Why He Divorced His Wife

Bill O'Reilly is an American political commentator, journalist, television host, syndicated columnist, and bestselling author. He is best known for his eponymous Fox News...

Details of Gwen Stefani’s Husband (Blake Shelton), Kids and How She Achieved Her Net Worth

Award-winning singer and songwriter Gwen Stefani who first gained popularity in the 1990s as the lead singer of "No Doubt" went on to have...

Lil Baby Net Worth 2020 – How Much Money the “Drip Too Hard” Rapper Makes

Ever since he broke into the music scene in 2017, rapper, Lil Baby has enjoyed a type of meteoric rise that most musicians can...

David Goggins Net Worth: Breaking Down the Finances of ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ Author

Looking for a bit of inspiration to help get your life in gear? Then look no further than retired navy seal and renowned endurance...

Trey Songz Net Worth: How Much Money the ‘Bottoms Up’ Singer Makes

R&B hitmaker, Trey Songz is a singer and rapper who began making music right from his formative years and has gone ahead to gain...

Joe Namath Net Worth and Earnings From All The Things He Does For A Living

It is not every day that you find a professional athlete who also boasts of the magnetism and charisma usually reserved for movie stars....

What Is Jamie Foxx Net Worth & Does He Have A Wife or Girlfriend?

Jamie Foxx is an American actor, comedian, singer, and songwriter. Foxx began pursuing a career in entertainment in the late 80s and slowly gained...

Featured Today

Get To Know Santtu Seppälä (Sarah Rafferty’s Husband) With These 6 Facts

Santtu Seppälä is the husband of the famous stage and TV actress Sarah Rafferty who is also noted for being a former colleague and...

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...

Little Known Facts About Kristen Welker’s Career, Parents and Husband

Those who can tell a thing or two about Kristen Welker will quickly point out that she is a media personality known for her...

Truth About Luke Macfarlane’s Gay Rumors And His Relationship With Wentworth Miller

If you have watched the ABC show Brothers & Sisters, or Space’s Killjoys, then chances are that you have seen Luke Macfarlane. The actor...

Top 10 Richest Male Porn Stars In The World

What could be better than passing time other than watching an adult movie on your television, computer, or anywhere? Sex has something to do...

Related Stories