Observer Staff Reports
MONTREAT, N.C. -- Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, died at 5:05 p.m. today, at her home at Little Piney Cove in Montreat, surrounded by her husband and five children. She was 87. Dates and times for a family-only interment ceremony and a public memorial service will be released when available.
These are statements by family members;
"Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team. 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.
"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."
"My father would not have been what he is today if it wasn't for my mother. She stood strong for what was biblically correct and accurate. She would help my father prepare his messages, listening with an attentive ear, and if she saw something that wasn't right or heard something that she felt wasn't as strong as it could be, she was a voice to strengthen this or eliminate that. Every person needs that kind of input in their life and she was that to my father."
Ruth Graham, youngest daughter:
"I don't believe mother has adequately been recognized and honored for what she had done; because, without her, daddy's ministry would not have been possible.
"How does one live with one of the world's most famous men? God began training my mother for this position years ago in China. Her parents exercised a profound effect upon the development of her character, and laid the foundations for who she was. What she witnessed in her family home, she practiced for herself -- dependence on God in every circumstance, love for His Word, concern for others above self, and an indomitable spirit displayed with a smile.
"Her happiness and fulfillment did not depend on her circumstances. She was a lovely, beautiful and wise woman, because early in life she made Christ her home, her purpose, her center, her confidant, and her vision."