Ruth Graham, Wife of Evangelist, Dies at 87

The wife of the Rev. Billy Graham, has died. Ruth Bell Graham was 87. Born in China, the daughter of a missionary, she married the man who would become the most famous evangelist of his time. She was bedridden in later years and had suffered from pneumonia.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The wife of the Reverend Billy Graham has died. Ruth Bell Graham was born 87 years ago in China. She was the daughter of a missionary, and as an adult, she wanted to return overseas for more missionary work. Instead, she agreed to marry the most famous evangelist of the time. Her children included Franklin Graham, who has become a well-known evangelist himself, and also Anne Graham Lotz.

Ms. ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ (Director, AnGeL Ministries): She raised Franklin without ever loosing her temper.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. LOTZ: You know, that's just the power of God.

INSKEEP: Many years later, Franklin Graham remembered his mother this way.

Mr. FRANKLIN GRAHAM (Evangelist; Director, Samaritan's Purse): She raised us whipping us when we needed it, and loving us, and correcting us.

INSKEEP: Though Ruth Bell Graham had aspired to travel as a missionary, she was the one who stayed home with the family while her husband traveled the country. She was devoted to making that ministry a success. But she did not change one thing. Her husband was Baptist. Ruth Bell Graham remained Presbyterian.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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