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Ruth Bell and Billy Graham Marriage Profile

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What You Can Learn From the Marriage of Ruth and Billy Graham:

You can learn from the marriage of Ruth and Billy Graham that it is possible for a marriage between an independent woman and a man with a mission to last a lifetime. Even though Billy's travel schedule often kept them apart, he and Ruth were able to keep their marriage strong.

Here is information about the courtship and long-lasting marriage of Ruth and Billy Graham.

Born:

Billy Graham aka William Franklin Graham Jr: November 7, 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ruth McCue Bell: June 10, 1920 in Qingjiang, Kiangsu, China.

Health Issues:

Billy: Suffering with Parkinson's disease, prostate cancer, hearing problems, and fluid on the brain, Billy doesn't leave home very often.

Ruth: Ruth had macular degeneration and degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck. Towards the end of her life she was bedridden and said to be in constant pain.

Died:

Ruth: June 14, 2007 at home in Montreat, North Carolina at the age of 87. Her husband, Billy, and their five children were with her when she died. Her burial was at the Billy Graham Library Prayer Garden in Charlotte, North Carolina.

How Billy and Ruth Met:

Ruth and Billy met while he was at Wheaton College. They were introduced by Billy's friend Johnny Streater in November 1940.

According to a Timeline provided by UNC-TV, Ruth and Billy's relationship nearly ended in April 1941, but after Ruth told Billy she loved him, he proposed in June 1941.

Wedding Date:

Billy and Ruth were married on August 13, 1943 in Monreat, North Carolina.

Children:

Ruth and Billy had five children, 19 granchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.
  • Virginia Leftwich "GiGi" Graham Tchvidjian: Born September 1945. GiGi is an author and is married to Clinic psycholgois Dr. Stephan Tchividjian.
  • Anne Morrow Graham Lotz: Born May 1948. Anne is an author and found of AnGel Ministries. She married Dan Lotz.
  • Ruth Bell "Bunny" Graham: Born December 1950. Bunny is an author and is the founder of Ruth Graham & Friends ministry.
  • William Franklin Graham III: Born July 1952 in Asheville, North Carolina. Reverend Franklin Graham is the founder of an international relief agency, Samaritan's Purse and is an evangelist. He is married to Jane Austin Cunningham.
  • Nelson "Ned" Edman Graham: Born May 1958. Ned is married to Carol. They are the caretakers of Billy and Ruth in addition to having a Bible and training ministry in China, East Gate Ministries.

Lifestyle and Residence:

Although during their marriage, Billy often traveled as much as six months out of a year, they did travel a great deal together. They traveled around the world twice together.

Their first home was an upstairs bedroom in Ruth's parents' home. Since 1956 Ruth and Billy lived in Montreat, North Carolina in a modest log home in a remote area of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They named their home "Little Piney Cove."

Occupations:

Billy: Evangelist, pastor, author, producer.

Ruth: Poet, author, painter.

Quotes About Ruth and Billy Graham:

Billy about Ruth's death: "I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we've had in the mountains together. We've rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven."
Source: Mike Baker. "Billy Graham's Wife Ruth Dies." SFGate.com. 6/14/2007.

Larry Ross about Ruth's last days: "Ruth Graham had been bedridden for months with degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck — the result of a serious fall from a tree in 1974 while fixing a swing for grandchildren — and underwent treatment for pneumonia two weeks ago. At her request, and in consultation with her family, she had stopped receiving nutrients through a feeding tube for the last few days."
Source: Mike Baker. "Billy Graham's Wife Ruth Dies." SFGate.com. 6/14/2007.

Ruth reflecting on their life together: "I didn't know when I married Bill all that lay ahead; I wouldn't have had the nerve to marry him. No, I had no inclination of what was going to happen in the future."
Source: UNCTV.org

Billy about their marriage: "Ruth and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a great one ... For a married couple to expect perfection in each other is unrealistic."
Source: BillyGraham.org

Billy Graham about where he and Ruth will be buried: "That determination will not be made by our family, our organization or outsiders, but will be ours alone."
Source: The Christian Century. "Graham Family in dispute over burial site." 1/09/2007, pg. 12.

Ruth when asked if she had ever considered divorce: "Divorce? No. Murder? Yes."
Source: Jon Meacham. "Pilgrim's Progress." Newsweek. 8/14/2006, pg. 36.

Ruth about Billy running for President, winter 1964: "If you run, I don't think the country will elect a divorced president."
Source: Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. "Ruth Graham, Soulmate to Billy, Dies." Time.com.

Anne Graham Lotz about her parents: "One of the most precious things is how Daddy has fallen in love with Mother all over again. He can't take his eyes off of her. He's so in love with her."
Source: Nanci Hellmich. USAtoday.com. 12/10/2001.

Billy about life with Ruth after retirement: "At night we have time together; we pray together and read the Bible together every night. It's a wonderful period of life for both of us. We've never had a love like we have now -- we feel each other's hearts."
Source: Jon Meacham. "Pilgrim's Progress." Newsweek. 8/14/2006. pg. 36.

Ned Graham: "There never would have been a Billy Graham without a Ruth Graham."
Source: MSNBC.com.

UNC-TV Program about Ruth and Billy: "As a family man, Billy relied on his wife's strength and encouragement far more than any of his public ever knew ... Her ability to make decisions about the household and family enabled him to pursue his ministry and travel abroad to the extent that he did--sometimes to over 10 different countries in a year."
Source: UNCTV.org

Laura Sessions Stepp, December 2006: "Billy Graham sits next to Ruth's hospital bed for long periods, stroking her arms and her face."
Source: MSNBC.com

John Reinan, Charlotte Observer, about Ruth: "There's an embrace. A few murmured words. And a smile from the woman who is the emotional rock of the world's most famous evangelist."
Source: UNCTV.org

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