The Rev. Billy Graham passed away this morning at the age of 99. According to his website, Graham first came to national prominence in 1949 at a citywide preaching crusade in Los Angeles.

Growing up in West Virginia, I was familiar with Billy Graham because my Great Grandmother loved him. Although she never attended a revival, she never missed watching him on television or listening to him on radio. She even donated money to his charity work. And she made me watch.

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And while he never paid a visit to my home state, it seems he loved New England. His first visit was in 1950. And he made many return visits. He came to Boston in September and October, 1964. Followed by stops in Manchester, Portland, and Bangor, later that year. Rev. Graham brought his ministry back to New England for his final visit in 1982, with stops in Portland, Manchester, and several nights in Boston. credits Graham for preaching to more individuals than anyone else in history...215 million people in live audiences over 185 countries...and millions more on  radio, television and written word...for over 40 years. Wikipedia estimates as of 2008, Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion.

Whether your're religious or not, it appears that Rev. Graham touched many, many lives over the course of his long life. RIP Rev. Billy Graham.