Billy Graham's sister dies aged 91

Jean Graham Ford(Photo: BGEA)

(CP) Jean Graham Ford, the last remaining sibling of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, died last week at the age of 91, her nephew, Franklin Graham, announced in a Facebook post reflecting on her legacy and love for the Lord.

"My Aunt Jean loved the Lord Jesus Christ, her family, her church and the work of God's people around the world. 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," Graham, who leads Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote.

"Aunt Jean and Leighton met at Wheaton College. Uncle Leighton went on to be a powerful evangelist and was thankful for the support and loyalty of his faithful and loving wife. The Bible speaks of godly women who are worthy of praise: 'a woman who fears the Lord she shall be praised' (Proverbs 31)."

Graham revealed his father and his aunt shared a close bond, formed in their early years on the family dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Jean was the youngest of four children born to Frank and Morrow Graham. She was 14 years younger than Billy Graham, whom she called "Billy Frank."

Despite facing a challenging childhood, including being stricken with polio at age 11, Jean's faith remained unshaken, he said. Graham recounted her saying that the possibility of death as a child did not bother her much as she knew she was going to Heaven.

"She traced her faith back to her childhood, commenting that Jesus 'was part of our family,'" he said.

"She exemplified this when her and Leighton's oldest son, Sandy, died of a rare heart disease at the young age of 21. Sandy's testimony for the Lord lives on to this day, and so does the testimony of Jean Graham Ford," Graham continued.

"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.'"

Graham expressed his prayers and condolences to Leighton Ford, their son, Kevin, and daughter, Debbie, acknowledging Jean Graham Ford's life as "well-lived."

Billy Graham died at 99 in 2018; Catherine Graham McElroy died in 2006 at 86, and Melvin Graham died in 2003 at 78.

In 2018, Jean spoke at Billy Graham's funeral in Charlotte.

She shared that when she heard the news of her brother's death she was reminded of the hymn, "Heaven Came Down and Filled My Soul With Glory."

"On February the 21st, Heaven came down and took my brother from me," she said. "One day, Heaven will come down and take me. And I know what [my brother] would want me to say today is, 'Heaven is coming again and would like to take you also.'"

© The Christian Post