My VIP for this week is William Franklin Graham Jr., otherwise known as the Reverend Billy Graham. He was born on November 7, 1918, in a “downstairs bedroom of a farmhouse near Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the oldest of the four children born to his parents were William Franklin Graham Sr. (1888-1962) and Morrow Coffey Graham (1892-1981). He was also of Scottish-Irish descent. His father was a dairy farmer, and the family lived on the dairy farm, first in a “white frame house” and then in a “newly built red brick home. His family was belonged to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian.
Graham became an American evangelical Christian evangelist and was an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He was known internationally after 1949 and became “one of the most influential preachers of the 20th century.”
Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents and provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama [12 presidents]. He was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson (one of Graham’s closest friends), and Richard Nixon.
Ill health prevented Reverend Graham from public appearances in recent years. Donald Trump speaks highly of him, but he is advised by Graham’s son Franklin. Reverend Graham passed away at age 99 on February 21, 2018, at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. His body will rest in a closed casket in the home where he was born and then be moved to Washington, D.C. for a couple of days before his funeral.
Evangelist Bill Graham, who died Wednesday, will lie in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda from Wednesday, Feb. 28, to Thursday, March 1, according to an announcement from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). Member of the public are invited to pay their respects. Ryan and McConnell will take part in a service upon the arrival of Graham’s casket.
A private funeral for Graham will be held Friday, March 2, at noon under a tent at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. Invitations to the funeral were extended to President Trump and former presidents, according to his spokesman Mark DeMoss. The invitation-only service is scheduled to include 2,300 people.