Billy and Ruth: A Love Story Begins

February 12, 2013

From Ruth Bell Graham:

It was early fall in 1940 when William Franklin Graham arrived on campus via the Wheaton College Student Trucking Service, run by Johnny Streater.

Billy Frank was a twenty-one-year-old North Carolinian, already an ordained Baptist minister, with clear blue eyes, standing six-foot-two.

It was so very good of God
To let my dreams come true,
To note a young girl’s cherished hopes,
Then lead her right to you;
So good of Him to take such care
In little, detailed parts
(He knows how much details mean
To young and wishful hears);
So good of Him to let you be
Tall and slender, too,
With waving hair more blonde than brown
And eyes of steel blue.



On our first date we attended the school’s presentation of the Messiah. “HALLELUJAH.” I agonized over which of my two homemade dresses to wear.

After that first date, I knelt beside my bed and prayed, “God, if You let me serve You with that man, I’d consider it the greatest privilege of my life.”

Billy Frank became the most popular subject in my journals, my poetry, and my letters.

“You know, funny how the little things pop up in the memory. His way of going about things, his self-control…the way he put both hands on the wheel and squared his shoulders when we began, the strength and keenness of his profile when the streetlight fell thru the snow sifting on the windshield and lit up his face. I wasn’t watching him directly, but one sees a lot out of the corner of one’s eye. Oh, I shouldn’t be writing all this. You’ll think me a romantic nitwit.” ~Entry from Ruth’s College Journal


Excerpts from Footprints of a Pilgrim: The Life and Loves of Ruth Bell Graham by Ruth Bell Graham.


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