Graham buried in private ceremony

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Rev. Billy Graham prayed then kissed a red rose and placed it on Ruth Graham’s casket during a private burial yesterday at the library recently opened in his honor.

Mr. Graham, 88, told his children and grandchildren that he was “looking forward to the … next service here” when the world’s most famous evangelist is buried next to his wife, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Mrs. Graham died Thursday at age 87 following a lengthy illness. She was her husband’s closest confidant, and was remembered Saturday during a public service in Montreat as a spiritual stalwart and modest mentor.

She was buried at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway in the woodsy Prayer Garden at the Billy Graham Library in her husband’s hometown.

Her family sang “Amazing Grace” and heard messages from Mr. Graham and two ministers, according to Graham spokesman Larry Ross, who released an account of the service.

“The Bible says the Lord has prepared a place for us, and I know He has prepared a home for her — I hope she saves a room for me,” Mr. Graham said of his wife of almost 64 years.

Mrs. Graham’s casket was adorned with a bed of lilies, the Christian symbol for resurrection.

Mrs. Graham, like his wife, will be buried in a birch plywood coffin built by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. The Grahams” son Franklin made the request after seeing the coffins on a visit to the Angola prison and being struck by their simplicity, according to a statement from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The coffins cost $215 each.

Visitors to the library starting today can view Mrs. Graham’s grave site.

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