Franklin Graham ‘Saddened’ to Announce Family Death

Franklin Graham ‘Saddened’ to Announce Family Death

CORRECTION, March 4, 2024: Billy Graham died in 2018. An earlier version of this article had a different year.

The Rev. Franklin Graham announced that his aunt and the only surviving sibling of his legendary father, the Rev. Billy Graham, died Thursday morning.

Jean Graham Ford died at the age of 91, Franklin Graham announced in a lengthy tribute to his beloved aunt on his Facebook page.

Franklin Graham said like him and his father, his Aunt Jean was devout in her faith.

“My Aunt Jean loved the Lord Jesus Christ, her family, her church and the work of God’s people around the world,” Franklin Graham wrote. “She, along with her husband Dr. Leighton Ford, was always a great encourager to my father throughout his entire ministry. He sought her counsel on many issues during his lifetime.”

Mrs. Ford, her nephew said, met her husband in college and he went on to become a minister.

Referring to her as a godly woman, Franklin Graham said Leighton Ford was “thankful” for her years of “support and loyalty.”

He also recalled his father’s stories of growing up with his sister, who was the youngest of four and was diagnosed with polio at a very young age.

“My father often recounted memories of growing up on the dairy farm,” the Samaritan’s Purse founder wrote. “He was the oldest of the four children born to my grandparents, Frank and Morrow Graham.

He continued:

“The youngest was his sister Jean who was still a child when my parents married in 1943. She was stricken with polio at age 11 that paralyzed her throat.

“Even at that time in her young life, and faced with the possibility of death as a child, she often said that it would not have bothered her [to die] so much because she knew she was going to heaven. She traced her faith back to her childhood, commenting that Jesus ‘was part of our family.’”

Franklin Graham said his late aunt never wavered in her faith throughout her long life, even when her oldest son Sandy died of a rare heart ailment at 21.

He added, “We are thankful for her life that impacted so many when she would share her testimony, saying, ‘Sometimes it’s so difficult to trust our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet to me, there’s no option. That happened to be ingrained in me, my trust in what He promises; my trust in who I know Him to be.’”

While the Graham family is grieving the loss of Jean today, her nephew said they are simultaneously rejoicing in her walk with Jesus.

Citing from the book of II Corinthians, Franklin Graham concluded, “My prayers are with Uncle Leighton, as well as his son Kevin and daughter Debbie.

“My wife and family join with them in praise for a life well lived, and know that ‘to be absent from the body’ is to be ‘at home with the Lord.’”

Billy Graham died in 2018 at the age of 99.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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