Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ruth Bell Graham dead at age 87

Ruth Graham went to be with the Lord at 5:05 Thursday afternoon. She was at home in Little Piney Cove, NC, with her husband, Billy Graham, and all 5 of her children surrounding her bed.

"Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team," Billy Graham said in a statement. "No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.

Ruth met Billy at Wheaton College. He courted her and, after their graduation in 1943, they were married. Billy began his evangelistic service, going away from home for extended visits, and Ruth once said, "I'd rather have a little of Billy than a lot of any other man."

They had originally moved in a house in North Carolina across the street from her parents. But, in 1956, they needed privacy from gawkers, so they designed a cabin in the mountains in the small town of Little Piney Cove, and built it from old cabin wood. Billy often used it for a retreat from the evangelistic field.
Though the wife of a famous Baptist minister, the independent-minded Ruth Graham declined to undergo baptism by immersion and remained a loyal, lifelong Presbyterian. When in Montreat, a town built around a Presbyterian conference center, Billy Graham would attend the local Presbyterian church where his wife often taught the college-age Sunday School class.

Along with her 14 books, Ruth Graham wrote an autobiographical "Footprints of a Pilgrim".

Earlier this week, Billy Graham said that his wife was "close to going home to Heaven." Tonight, she has gone on to her Heavenly reward.

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Donna-Jean said...

It feels as though a dear friend has died - yet a friend we've never met. Knowing her through her books and poetry will continue - we are so blessed by those gifts to us.

Praying with you for Billy Graham, and mourning the loss of this incredible woman. We'll meet one day.

Saija said...

the Lord used ruth's writing to mature my faith ... and now, her joyous laughter at being pain free & in heaven with the Jesus she loved - is glory for her ... yet sadness for those she left behind ...

life is short - one day we all walk over that eternal bridge ... may it be into the arms of Him who saved us ...