As you are no doubt aware, the beloved evangelist and fellow Montreat resident, Rev. Dr. William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr., passed away early this morning. It is with great sympathy that our community mourns the passing of Dr.Graham. Dr. Graham has been a beloved member of the Montreat community since his marriage to Ruth Bell Graham in 1943. The Rev. Graham was a supportive figure in Montreat where he located the offices of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. His presence will be missed by many in our Cove. Our condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.
We want to alert you that we anticipate Dr. Graham’s passing will result in increased activity here at Montreat. We anticipate mourners, curiosity seekers and media to converge upon this area, including Montreat property, in the coming hours and days. We are prepared for such activity. The Montreat Police Department, led by Chief David Arrant, has called in off-duty officers, and has others on standby, to manage crowd control. Montreat Police will remain at full strength until they are no longer needed. Other area agencies, including Black Mountain, Buncombe County, and the City ofAsheville, will be working together with Montreat to bring dignity, respect and safety to all those involved.
The hill by the Montreat gate has been designated as a memorial location for mourners to place flowers and other expressions of sympathy. Officers will be on hand to manage crowds and provide safety to all. Please be careful as you enter and exit, as there is likely to be congestion in that area.
Details of the arrangements are still forth coming, but we know that Dr. Graham’s memorial service will be in Charlotte, not Montreat.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Montreat Town Services Building at 828/669-3002. Please continue to lift the Graham family in your thoughts and prayers.