Join the Conversation
To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs
Details on Billy Graham's death, funeral service released
Rev. Billy Graham died at the age of 99. He was known for his charisma, but he said "I despise all this attention on me...I'm not trying to bring people to myself, but I know that God has sent me out as a warrior."
CHARLOTTE - The Rev. Billy Graham died in his sleep Wednesday morning, and though no family members were present, a spokesman said his passing was peaceful.
"It was described by nurse and doctor as a very peaceful passing," said Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "He was not in any pain, and he wouldn’t have suffered any."
The BGEA held a press conference Wednesday night at the Billy Graham headquarters in Charlotte to announce details of funeral plans and to talk about Graham's final moments. At age 99, Graham suffered from several maladies, including vision and hearing loss, as well as Parkinson's-like symptoms diagnosed nearly 20 years ago.
DeMoss said Graham's personal physician, Dr. Lucian Rice of Asheville, described it this way: "He just wore out."
Graham died at 7:46 a.m. Wednesday, and was found by his longtime assistant, David Bruce, who then called Graham's son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, who was in Dallas.
"I think we can say he passed in his sleep," DeMoss said. "Nobody would have been with him other than an attendant nurse."
Graham's funeral service will take place at noon March 2 at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. His body was taken to Morris Funeral Home in Asheville on Wednesday, then to the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in the Swannanoa area. It will be moved to Charlotte via motorcade on Saturday.
The public will be able to view motorcade at several spots Saturday, with the best spots in Black Mountain. Plans call for the motorcade to leave the Cove at 11:25, taking Interstate 40 east to Black Mountain, DeMoss said.
The vehicles should get to Black Mountain about 11:35 a.m. The recommended viewing area is on State Street between Craigmont Road and I-40.
The motorcade will turn right at US-70 E (W. State Street). At the intersection of West State Street and Highway 9, on the right-hand side, is Town Hardware.
The hardware store formerly was Black Mountain Drugstore, a place Graham and his late wife, Ruth, frequented. Billy often rode his horse there from their home in Montreat 2.3 miles away, the DeMoss said.
Just behind Town Hardware, Cherry Street dead-ends at the railroad tracks where the Black Mountain train station used to be. In the 1950s, Billy Graham often boarded trains to Washington or New York at the station, then flew out from one of those cities to preach internationally, DeMoss said.
The motorcade will leave Black Mountain about 11:45 a.m., taking the ramp onto I-40 and heading toward US-321 South and on to Charlotte.
DeMoss said the funeral will be held in a large tent, a tribute to Graham’s first Crusade in Los Angeles in 1949. As with Ruth Graham’s burial, Billy Graham will be buried in a simple pine casket made by inmates at the correctional facility in Angola, Louisiana.
The funeral will be private and by invitation only, with some 2,300 invitations going out, including to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the living former U.S. presidents, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, DeMoss said. He did not have information on any acceptances Wednesday night.
Franklin Graham will speak at the funeral service, as well as Graham's four other children.
Graham will lie in repose Monday and Tuesday at the Graham Family Homeplace at the Billy Graham Library. The public can pay its respects both days, from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
He'll also lay in honor at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will take part in a bicameral service when Graham's casket arrives, according to a news release.
Graham's body will be moved from Morris Funeral Home in Asheville to the Billy Graham Training Center in Swannanoa at 3 p.m. Thursday, but this is a private movement. Graham's body will leave the Cove at 11:25 a.m. Saturday for Charlotte, arriving at the Billy Graham Library around 3 p.m.
Details on the motorcade will be released Thursday.
The Graham homeplace was built in 1927 by Graham’s father and moved to the library site. Graham lived in the home from age 9 until he left for college.
Graham will be buried on the library grounds next to his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, who died in 2007.
For more information, visit www.BillyGraham.org.
Staff writers Jennifer Bowman and Casey Blake contributed to this report.