Billy Graham


  • Nov. 7, 1918: Born to William Franklin and Morrow Coffey Graham, on a farm near Charlotte, N.C.
  • 1940: Graduated Florida Bible Institute, Tampa Florida. Ordained minister Southern Baptist Convention.
  • 1943: B.A., Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.
  • 1943: Married Ruth McCue Bell. (Five children: Virginia 1945; Anne 1948; Ruth, 1950; William Franklin, Jr. 1952; Nelson Edman, 1958).
  • 1943 – 1945: Pastor, First Baptist Church, Western Springs, Illinois.
  • 1944: Helped originate Youth for Christ, International.
  • 1946: Became the first vice president of Youth for Christ.
  • 1947 – 1952: President, Northwestern Schools, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Nov. 1949: Held a meeting in Los Angeles that received national attention.
  • 1950: Leader of weekly “Hour of Decision” radio program which grew to six networks with world-wide broadcasts. Founded Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • 1950 – 1965: Accepted White House invitations from Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and was on good terms with Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
  • 1957: Preached for 16 weeks at Madison Square Garden.
  • 1960: Salary was $15,000 annually.
  • 1971: Graham’s hometown of Charlotte designated a day in his honor. President Richard Nixon flew in for the occasion and 12,000 attended ceremonies.
  • 1973: Held rally in Seoul, South Korea. 3.2 million people attended over 5 days, including 1.2 million on the final day.
  • 1975: Graham’s book, “Angels: God’s Secret Agents” sold one million copies in 90 days.
  • 1977: His book, “How to be Born Again” was the largest first printing in publishing history with 800,000 printed.
  • 1982: The Association employed 375 people and had a budget of $31.7 million.
  • May 1982: Made 6-day trip to Moscow and faced criticism on his return to the U.S.
  • 1982: Following Moscow crusade, Graham went to London to receive the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He received the $200,200 prize at Buckingham Palace where Prince Philip called him the most influential religious leader of the 20th century.
  • 1985: More than 250,000 attended an eighth-day crusade at a soccer stadium in northern England. Set record for attendance with over 545,000 attending the 10-day Southern California crusade.
  • 1986: Graham received the North Carolina Award, the highest honor bestowed by the State of North Carolina. Other recipients that year included Joseph Bryan, A.R. Ammons, Ernest Eliel and Doc Watson.
  • July 1987: Hit milestone of preaching in all 50 states in addition to 64 foreign countries.
  • 1990: Graham’s Hong Kong crusade was simulcast to more than 30 countries throughout Asia and the Pacific region in 48 languages to an audience of more than 100 million people each night of the crusade. Took his crusade to the Berlin Wall.
  • 1995: Graham named his eldest son, Franklin as successor.
  • 1996: Held crusade in his hometown, Charlotte, his first crusade in Charlotte since 1972. 65,000 filled Ericsson Stadium.
  • 2000: Received the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award.
  • 2000: Franklin Graham took charge of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
  • Dec. 2001: Graham was made honorary knight of the British Empire for lifetime contributions to religious life.
  • 2005: The association gave first official word that Graham would no longer hold crusades.
  • 2006: Graham named in the Gallup Poll’s top 10 “most admired” men list for a record 50th time.
  • June 14, 2007: Ruth Graham died. She was buried at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte.
  • 2012: Graham backed Mitt Romney in the presidential election.
  • Nov. 2013: Graham celebrated his 95th birthday. He was hospitalized with respiratory ailments two weeks later.

Sources: News & Record archive, The Associated Press
Compiled by Diane Lamb, News & Record News Researcher

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