William Franklin Graham Jr, the renowned evangelist, was born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He was the first among William and Morrow Graham’s four children raised on the family’s dairy farm.
When he was 16, he attended a series of revival meetings led by evangelist Mordecai Ham.
After graduating from Sharon High School in 1978, he moved to Tennessee and enrolled himself in Bones Jones College.
However, he transferred to the Florida Bible Institute, after feeling disconnected from Bones Jones College’s rigid doctrine.
He joined Southern Baptist Convention in Florida and was ordained in 1939.
Graham graduated from the Florida Bible Institute with a degree in theology and joined Wheaton College for further spiritual training.
At Wheaton College, he met his wife, Ruth Graham, who was a daughter of a missionary.
They got married on August 13, 1943, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology; they have five children together.
He was a pastor for the First Baptist Church until he left it to join the Youth for Christ, an evangelical missionary group.
In 1947, Billy became the president of Northwestern Schools, a group of Christian schools in Minnesota.
He resigned from Youth for Christ in 1948 and focused on Northwestern schools before leaving in 1952 to concentrate on preaching.
A group called Christ for Greater Los Angeles invited Billy to preach at their LA revival, and Stuart Hamblen invited him to his radio show.
The word of revival spread like wildfire and William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper magnate, urged papers around the world to cover his revival meetings.
Billy and his colleagues established the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in Minneapolis, in 1950.
He began broadcasting his preachings on the radio during a Christian show called Songs in the Night.
He even hosted a program, The Hour of Decision, which was initially transmitted to 1,200 stations across America by ABC.
The program was eventually turned into a television show which ran for three years, and Graham used his popularity to spread the gospel of Christ around the globe.
Following his success, BGEA opened many international offices and published various periodicals, tapes, records, films and books.
BGEA eventually created the Billy Graham Evangelistic Film Ministry as a means to distribute personal conversion stories to the public.
The organization was also able to amass several radio stations around America and in 1955, Christianity Today was created.
The leading journal for evangelical Christians, started Decision magazine, a monthly issue with bible studies, articles, and church histories.
The magazine was later published in Spanish, French and German.
Graham is also a writer and has authored various books such as 'Angels: God’s Secret Agents,' 'Facing Death and the Life After', and 'How to Be Born Again.'
He has been awarded the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Awards, Congressional Gold Medal, and the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire among others.
He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in 1992, and his son William Franklin Graham III was chosen to take over BGEA after his retirement.
His wife, Ruth Graham passed away in 2007 due to pneumonia and degenerative osteoarthritis.
Following his wife’s death, Billy retreated to their home in Montreat, North Carolina, and rarely left home.
Though Billy doesn’t leave his house, he is active on social media.
Billy uploaded a quoted picture of himself on his Facebook account celebrating his 100th year in this world.
Graham has expressed his concern for the spiritual health of the nation, in a video entitled ‘My Hope America,’ which some have called his final sermon.
“Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God.”