Biography: Ruth Bell Graham


June 10, 1920 
Qingjiang, Kiangsu, China


June 14, 2007, age 87
Montreat, North Carolina


L. Nelson Bell (died 1973) and Virginia Leftwich Bell (died 1974)


William F. "Billy" Graham Jr., 1943


  • High school, International Mission School, Pyongyang, North Korea 
  • Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, 1943


2001    Footprints of a Pilgrim: the Life and Loves of Ruth Bell Graham (Word Publishing)  
2001  Never Let It End (Baker Book House)  
1999  Prayers from a Mother's Heart (Thomas Nelson)  
1998  Mothers Together (with Gigi Graham Tchividjian, Baker Book House)  
1997  Collected Poems (Baker Books)  
1997  Coffee and Conversation with Ruth Bell Graham and Gigi Graham Tchividjian (Guideposts) 
1994  One Wintry Night (Baker Book House) 
1992  Clouds Are the Dust of His Feet (Crossway Books)  
1991  Prodigals and Those Who Love Them (Focus on the Family)  
1989  The Legacy of a Pack Rat (Oliver Nelson)  
1982 It's My Turn (Grason)
1977  Sitting by My Laughing Fire (World Wide Publications)  
1959  Our Christmas Story (Thomas Nelson and Sons)  


Virginia "Gigi" Graham, 1945
Anne Graham Lotz, 1948
Ruth Graham, 1950
William "Franklin" Graham III, 1952
Nelson Edman "Ned" Graham, 1958 

19 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren  


Ruth McCue Bell never intended to marry. Instead, the adventurous daughter of Dr. Nelson and Virginia Bell planned to follow the example of service set by her parents, who were medical missionaries. After spending the first 17 years of her life with them in China and North Korea, Ruth returned to the United States, where she enrolled in Wheaton College (suburban Chicago). There she prepared to serve as a missionary to the people of Tibet. She was unprepared, though, for the ways in which her plans—and her life—would change when she met fellow Wheaton student Billy Graham.

A lanky and shy farm boy from North Carolina, Graham soon started asking Bell for dates. Instantly attracted by his spirit, she consented, and the student who had been committed to staying single was soon ready to make a commitment to Graham. They were engaged after three months of dating and married in August of 1943.

Soon after, Ruth and her new husband ministered for a short while at a church in Western Springs, Illinois. They then returned to North Carolina and made their home in the mountain community of Montreat. It is there, in a cabin Ruth named "Little Piney Cove," that the Grahams reared their five children: GigiAnneRuthFranklin and Ned.

Though perhaps best known as the wife of a world-renowned evangelist, Ruth was also an accomplished author, artist and poet. She wrote more than 10 books on topics from parenting to the Christmas story. Until her death in 2007, she remained a vital part of the Ruth and Billy Graham Children's Health Center Foundation located in Asheville, North Carolina, and was active in the lives of her 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.



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