Birthday: June 10, 1920
Nationality: American, Chinese
Died At Age: 87
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Ruth Bell Graham
Born Country: China
Born in: Qingjiang, Kiangsu, China
Famous as: Philanthropist, Poet, Author
Spouse/Ex-: Billy Graham (m. 1943–2007)
father: Dr. L. Nelson Bell
mother: Virginia McCue Bell
siblings: Clayton Bell, Rosa Bell, Virginia Bell
children: Anne Graham Lotz, Franklin Graham, Gigi Graham, Ned Graham, Ruth Graham
Died on: June 14, 2007
place of death: Montreat, North Carolina, USA
education: Wheaton College
Who was Ruth Graham?
Ruth Bell Graham was an American philanthropist, poet, author and recreational painter. She was the wife of famous evangelist Billy Graham and was behind the immense success of his ministry and its work throughout America. It is well known that Billy used to rely on his wife’s insightful suggestions and took ideas from her whenever he felt stuck in his line of work, and it was in fact her who worked in managing their household singlehandedly and raise their five children all by herself. Billy Graham used to travel for months at a stretch and Graham was left alone to look after their children, which is why she started evangelist work of her own and took to writing as a source to vent out her emotional stress. She authored 13 brilliant books - full of fiction and poetry. She was raised partly in China by her missionary parents from whom Graham learned the art of servitude and treating human beings with compassion. She lived the rest of her life on principles that she learnt as a child and Graham’s support in her husband’s ministry was duly acknowledged when they were together awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in a special ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.
Childhood & Early Life
Ruth Graham was born on June 10, 1920, in Qingjiang, Jiangsu, China to Dr. L. Nelson Bell and Virginia McCue Bell. Her parents were Medical missionaries at the Presbyterian Hospital near Shanghai.
The Bells established love for Christ in their children’s hearts and were devoted to the medical and evangelistic work of the hospital. Her father always kept a busy schedule as a surgical chief and administrative superintendent at the hospital.
Her mother on the other hand took care of the children, the household, taught the children at home until fifth grade, worked at the hospital, ran women’s clinic and worked with other missionaries.
Graham was a soft and tender child because of the warm, loving and dedicated household that she grew up in. She had pets like baby ducks and chicks, and used to give a proper funeral to the ones that died.
She attended a high school in Pyongyang, Korea, at the age of 13 and she studied there for three years. She completed rest of the school education at Montreat, North Carolina. She later graduated from Wheaton College, Illinois.
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Graham met Billy Graham at Wheaton College and they got married in 1943. Her husband became an evangelist for Youth for Christ, and they moved to Montreat, to live close to Graham’s family.
Graham travelled with her husband on his tours before the birth of their children. She counseled those who used to show interest in Christ but once her children were born she could not find much time to devote to these campaigns.
She singlehandedly took the responsibility of taking care of the household while her husband used to travel and preach. In 1950, incorporation of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took place and his ministry grew to sizeable amount.
In 1959, Graham published her first book, ‘Our Christmas Story’, which is an illustrated volume for children. She wrote and co-wrote almost 13 books after that, which she treated as her emotional release.
She founded the Ruth and Billy Graham Children’s Health Centre in 1966, in Asheville, North Carolina. She worked for it until her death.
Throughout the q990s, she wrote books like: ‘Prodigals and Those Who Love Them (1991)’, ‘Clouds are the Dust of His Feet (1992)’, ‘One Wintry Night (1994)’, ‘Collected Poems (1997)’, ‘Mothers Together (1998), ‘Prayers from a Mother’s Heart (1999)’, etc.
In 1996, Graham’s support in her husband’s ministry was acknowledged when they were together awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in a special ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.
Apart from her role in making Billy Graham’s ministry a nationwide success, Graham is also known for her writing career. She authored 13 books.
Personal Life & Legacy
Graham got married to Billy Graham in 1943, after meeting each other at Wheaton College and dating for few years. The couple had five children together: Franklin, Nelson, Virginia, Anne and Ruth.
Graham was suffering from fragile health since 1995; she suffered from spinal meningitis, degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck and pneumonia and finally in 2007 she was taken off her life support, on her request, and died on June 14, 2007.
When she died, Billy Graham announced that he and his wife will be buried beside each other at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.
She encouraged her husband to visit the People’s Republic of China and work for the people there.
Despite the fact that her husband was amongst world’s most famous Baptists, Graham was a Presbyterian and used to occasionally teach at the Sunday School.
While making a pipe slide for her grandchildren at her home in Wisconsin, she fell and suffered from serious injuries, which resulted in back and hip problems for the rest of her life.
Her books ‘It’s My Turn’ and ‘Legacy of a Pack Rat’ consist of short chapters that refer to some important pieces of biblical truth and experiences she gained from her years as a wife, mother and Christian.