Billy Graham’s funeral service will be under a tent – just like the crusades he launched during his nearly six decades of preaching.
The famed evangelist who died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, will be laid to rest March 2 in a pine plywood casket with a cross nailed to the top. It was made by inmates at a Louisiana prison and will be topped with white lilies because those are the flowers he used to send after a death.
Spokesman Mark DeMoss says this and other details of his funeral have been planned for almost a decade.
“It was Mr. Graham’s explicit intent his funeral service reflect and reinforce the gospel message he preached for more than 60 years,” DeMoss said at a press conference Wednesday night. “He personally approved the planning and details of this service some years ago.”
Graham chose his favorite hymns and music that will be played during the 90-minute ceremony.
He will be buried next to his wife, Ruth, at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the prayer garden on the northeast side of the Billy Graham Library. She was buried there in 2007.
Spokesman DeMoss says Graham suffered from Parkinson’s symptoms and had been losing strength, hearing and eyesight.
“He was not in recent times certainly was not taking phone calls and entertaining guests other than family members,” he said. “It has been quite quiet in recent months and the last couple of years really.”
Graham’s body will be brought to his childhood home which is part of the library and he will lie in repose there before his burial. Graham is survived by his sister, five children, 19 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.