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Rev. Billy Graham's life: Photo gallery and timeline

President Barack Obama meets with Billy Graham, 91, at his mountainside home in Montreat, N.C., Sunday, April 25, 2010. Obama concluded his North Carolina vacation with his first meeting of the ailing evangelist, who has counseled commanders in chief since Dwight Eisenhower. [White House photo by Pete Souza via AP (2010)]
Published Feb. 21, 2018

The Rev. Billy Graham, a North Carolina farmer's son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nation's best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died Wednesday at his home. He was 99. This is a timeline of his life.

1918: Born into a strict Presbyterian family near Charlotte, N.C.

1934: Accepts Christ at Charlotte revival by traveling evangelist Mordecai Ham.

1936: Enrolls in Bob Jones College, Cleveland, Tenn.

1937: Unhappy at Bob Jones, he enrolls in Florida Bible Institute in Temple Terrace (now Trinity College in New Port Richey.)

1938: Baptized in Silver Lake, near Palatka.

1939: Delivers first sermon on Easter in Bostwick, near Palatka.

1940: Graduates from Florida Bible Institute, ordained later that year.

1943: Marries classmate Ruth McCue Bell and graduates from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill. Becomes preacher at First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Ill.

1944: Chief preacher for Youth for Christ rallies.

1947: First book, Calling Youth to Christ, published.

1949: Media czar Randolph Hearst hears Graham deliver a sermon during Los Angeles revival and instructs editors at his newspapers to "puff Graham." The next day glowing stories about Graham appear on all over the world.

1950: Establishes Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, launches Hour of Decision radio show.

1951: Addresses mass religious service at Al Lang Field to open St. Petersburg's Festival of States Week.

1953: Preaches at Al Lang Field and speaks at Trinity College, his alma mater, the next day.

1954: Gains attention for his Greater London Crusade.

1956: Founds Christianity Today magazine.

1957: First televised crusade in New York.

1961: Speaks to rallies in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Tampa.

1969: Prays at President Richard Nixon's inauguration.

1978: Says reading transcripts of Nixon tapes a "profoundly disturbing and disappointing experience" and "what comes through on these tapes is not the man I have known for many years."

1979: Five-day crusade at Tampa Stadium.

1988: Tours China.

1991: Prays with President George H.W. Bush and stays at White House night before Bush launches Operation Desert Storm against Iraq.

1992: Publicly confirms he has Parkinson's disease.

1993: Leads prayers at President Bill Clinton's first inauguration.

1995: Picks son Franklin to succeed him.

1996: Awarded Congressional Gold Medal.

1997: Leads prayers at Clinton's second inauguration.

March 1998: Says he forgives Clinton for his sins because the president is under a lot of stress and has such a "tremendous personality" that "ladies just go wild over him."

April 1999: Inducted into the Gospel Music association Hall of Fame. He is the first non-musician ever selected.

June 2000: A shunt was inserted to relieve fluid on the brain that was affecting his balance.

December 2000: Entered the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis to adjust the shunt.

January 2001: Ill health prevents him from delivering the invocation at President George W. Bush's inauguration

June 2001: Preached four nights running at his crusade in Louisville, KY.

October 2001: Out of sensitivity to Muslims, Graham changes the names of his services to mission instead of the word "crusade."

December 2001: Made honorary knight of British Empire, one of the highest tributes bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II.

March 2002: National Archives releases recordings made of Nixon in 1972. On one of them Graham says to Nixon that a Jewish "stranglehold" of the media was ruining the country and must be broken.

March 2002: Graham apologizes and issues a statement: "Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon …. They do not reflect my views and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the remarks."

November 2004: Graham holds four-day crusade in Los Angeles to mark 55th anniversary of 1949 event that propelled him to national fame.

April 2005: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association opens new headquarters on 63 acres along Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte after 50 years of being based in Minneapolis.

June 2005: Graham stages his last American crusade in New York City.

May 2007: Billy Graham Library and his restored childhood home open in Charlotte.

June 2007: His wife, Ruth, dies at age 87

April 2010: Returns to Charlotte to help celebrate renovations of his library.

February 2018: Graham dies at age 99 in North Carolina.

Sources: Current biography, Times wires, Times files, Charlotte Observer


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