Grady B. Wilson, the first associate evangelist chosen for Billy Graham’s evangelistic team, died October 30 in Charlotte, North Carolina, of congestive heart failure. He was 68.

“Grady Wilson was one of my closest friends and associates for over 50 years,” said Graham. “No one outside of my family has ever been any closer than Grady.”

Graham met Wilson in 1934 when the two were singing in the choir during a revival led by evangelist Mordecai Ham. During the meetings, Graham became a Christian and Wilson renewed his Christian commitment. Wilson was ordained as a Baptist minister four years later, and he first pastored at Bethel Baptist Church in Hell Hole Swamp, South Carolina.

He and Graham were friends in high school and college. And in 1947, Wilson joined Graham for an evangelistic crusade in Charlotte. In 1950, when the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was formed, Wilson was named vice-president.

“He was a unique servant of God,” Graham said. “… He was at home with the rich and the poor, and counted three presidents as his friend, but he was always the same. His sense of humor was notorious, and his dedication to the gospel made him a powerful evangelist in his own right.”

When Graham was unable to make appearances, Wilson often filled in, preaching for the evangelist all over the world. He also formed his own evangelistic team and held crusades worldwide.

In 1978, Wilson suffered a massive heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery. In his autobiography, Count It All Joy (Broadman), he reflected on those experiences. “Now that I have stared death squarely in the face on two occasions, life means more to me than ever: blades of grass; the fall ...

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