Billy Graham's life has lasting impact on family, friends

Billy Graham's life has lasting impact on family, friends

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by KATIE KILLEN / NBC Charlotte

WCNC.com

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 12 at 11:08 AM

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- While Billy Graham's name is recognizable across the globe, the evangelist hasn't publicly preached since 2006, because of his frail health. 

NBC Charlotte caught up with a man who's known Graham for nearly five decades.  Glenn Wilcox, Sr. visits with Graham regularly. 

However, back in 1957, Wilcox was one of 2.3 million people at a Crusade in New York City.  

"Of course, I didn't know anybody, so I set way up in the balcony...[and] I said Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra couldn't fill Madison Square Garden every night, free like they're doing it.” 

In 1965 Wilcox would move his travel agency to Asheville.  Graham was looking for someone to schedule his trips and a colleague suggested Wilcox get in touch. 

"I said, I got a problem.  I know Billy, but he doesn't know me," said Wilcox.  Later the two bonded over golf.  According to Wilcox, "oh, he was a very good golfer.  A little wild.  I mean, he hit some bad shot, but he hit some great shots." 

Wilcox traveled the world with the preacher, but it's a Crusade in Asheville that he remembers best. 

"I was with him and he was biting his finger nails, I said 'what you so nervous about Billy?'  He said Glenn, 'I'm so worried that I'll say one that'll keep someone from accepting Christ and I want to say the right thing.'" 

Forty-eight years later, Wilcox visits with Graham at Montreat. 

"His body is worn out.  After all, he's 95.  But his mind is sharp," Wilcox said. 

The Crusades and their travel days, long over, but their friendship, still strong. 

"To have a relationship with him.  has meant so much to me.  no way to put it into words," he said.

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