Rev. Billy Graham died Wednesday morning at his Montreat, North Carolina, home. He was 99 years old. Graham’s longtime physician said “he just wore out,” according to a family spokesman. The nurse at Graham’s home described his death as a very peaceful passing.
Graham will lie in repose on Monday and Tuesday at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. The public is welcome to pay their respects from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.
On Wednesday Graham’s body will be brought to the U.S. Capitol where he will lie in honor until Thursday. Graham is only the fourth person to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The three others were Rosa Parks in 2005 and the two Capitol police officers who died in the line of duty in 1998. Upon the arrival of Graham’s casket, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will take part in a bicameral service, where they come together as a legislative body.
A private funeral service will be held in front of the Billy Graham Library on Friday, March 2 at noon. He will be laid to rest at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway, buried in a simple prison-made plywood coffin next to his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007. Graham’s coffin was built by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, who typically build caskets for fellow prisoners who cannot afford one.
Two-thousand three-hundred guests are expected to attend the invitation-only funeral. Franklin Graham, Graham’s son, will deliver the eulogy, and his brother and three sisters will speak at the funeral as well. Invitations were given to President Donald Trump as well as former presidents.
In his career as an evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham preached to more than 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Graham had personal audiences with many sitting US presidents from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. In April 2010, President Barack Obama visited Rev. Graham at his home in for “a private prayer.”
The United States Postal Service has said that Rev. Graham was one of the few Americans, along with the current President, who could have mail delivered that simply reads his name and the country: “Billy Graham, America.”
Our condolences to the Graham family. We pray for them to be comforted during this time and in the days to come. Thank God for Rev. Graham’s obedience in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world.