Billy Graham’s remaining sibling, Jean Ford, dies at 91

Jean Graham Ford, the only remaining sibling of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, has passed away. She died on March 1, at the age of 91.

Her death was announced by her nephew and son of Billy Graham, Franklin Graham. He wrote on his Facebook page, “Our family was saddened to learn that my father Billy Graham's only remaining sibling, Jean Graham Ford, passed away. She was 91 years old.

“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 encouragement to my father throughout his entire ministry. He sought her counsel on many issues during his lifetime.”
Franklin, who heads the Samaritan Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, recalled how his late aunt met her husband.

He said, “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).”

Speaking of his father’s early years and the relationship with his siblings, he said, “My father often recounted memories of growing up on the dairy farm. He was the oldest of the four children born to my grandparents, Frank and Morrow Graham.

“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.’

“She exemplified this when she 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. 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.’

“We will miss her in this life but look forward to eternity together in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. 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’ (2 Cor. 5:8).”

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

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