Biography: Ruth Bell Graham
June 10, 1920
Qingjiang, Kiangsu, China
June 14, 2007, age 87
Montreat, North Carolina
L. Nelson Bell (died 1973) and Virginia Leftwich Bell (died 1974)
- High school, International Mission School, Pyongyang, North Korea
- Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, 1943
|2001||Footprints of a Pilgrim: the Life and Loves of Ruth Bell Graham (Word Publishing)|
|2001||Never Let It End (Baker Book House)|
|1999||Prayers from a Mother's Heart (Thomas Nelson)|
|1998||Mothers Together (with Gigi Graham Tchividjian, Baker Book House)|
|1997||Collected Poems (Baker Books)|
|1997||Coffee and Conversation with Ruth Bell Graham and Gigi Graham Tchividjian (Guideposts)|
|1994||One Wintry Night (Baker Book House)|
|1992||Clouds Are the Dust of His Feet (Crossway Books)|
|1991||Prodigals and Those Who Love Them (Focus on the Family)|
|1989||The Legacy of a Pack Rat (Oliver Nelson)|
|1982||It's My Turn (Grason)|
|1977||Sitting by My Laughing Fire (World Wide Publications)|
|1959||Our Christmas Story (Thomas Nelson and Sons)|
19 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren
Ruth McCue Bell never intended to marry. Instead, the adventurous daughter of Dr. Nelson and Virginia Bell planned to follow the example of service set by her parents, who were medical missionaries. After spending the first 17 years of her life with them in China and North Korea, Ruth returned to the United States, where she enrolled in Wheaton College (suburban Chicago). There she prepared to serve as a missionary to the people of Tibet. She was unprepared, though, for the ways in which her plans—and her life—would change when she met fellow Wheaton student Billy Graham.
A lanky and shy farm boy from North Carolina, Graham soon started asking Bell for dates. Instantly attracted by his spirit, she consented, and the student who had been committed to staying single was soon ready to make a commitment to Graham. They were engaged after three months of dating and married in August of 1943.
Soon after, Ruth and her new husband ministered for a short while at a church in Western Springs, Illinois. They then returned to North Carolina and made their home in the mountain community of Montreat. It is there, in a cabin Ruth named "Little Piney Cove," that the Grahams reared their five children: Gigi, Anne, Ruth, Franklin and Ned.
Though perhaps best known as the wife of a world-renowned evangelist, Ruth was also an accomplished author, artist and poet. She wrote more than 10 books on topics from parenting to the Christmas story. Until her death in 2007, she remained a vital part of the Ruth and Billy Graham Children's Health Center Foundation located in Asheville, North Carolina, and was active in the lives of her 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.