CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tuesday, hundreds gathered at Calvary Church in Charlotte to honor the life of longtime Billy Graham Evangelistic Association music and program director, Cliff Barrows.
Barrows died last Tuesday at age 93 while in hospice care.
Friends and family said Tuesday that Barrows did not want a fancy funeral, he did not want flowers on his casket and he did not want the attention focused on him. They said he simply had one request, “He would say, 'I want a lot of music, and I want the people to sing,'” said friend Tom Bledsoe, who led the choir at the memorial service in song.
Together, those in attendance joined the choir lifting their voices in song, singing tributes to the man to who spent his life leading congregational singing and crusade choirs around the world with Billy Graham for more than 60 years.
“He had the spontaneous ability, as many of you knew, to put a song or verse to anything, and as kids, we always knew he would have his harmonica hidden somewhere in one of his pockets,” said Barrow’s grandson, Cliff Thomas.
"I had no greater joy than encouraging people to sing"-Cliff Barrows. Today his favorite songs are filling the church as people remember him pic.twitter.com/0Yic61vrwz— Ashley Daley (@AshleyDaley) November 22, 2016
Barrows best friend, Billy Graham, who recently turned 98, was unable to physically make the memorial service but sent his son Reverend Will Graham with a message.
“I love this man who’s been like a brother to me,” said Graham.
He added that his father would often say that, “when we get to heaven, I’ll be out of work, but not Cliff.”
Barrow’s wife also spoke, saying that in his final days, Barrow’s clung to his bible, was surrounded by the music he loved and that his face radiated, as he knew his meeting with Jesus was near.
“We called him Cliffy and I would say, 'oh, Cliffy, servant of god, well done, well done,” said Ann Barrows.
After the service, Barrows was laid to rest in the memorial gardens located on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library. He is just the third person to be buried there. His first wife, Billie Burrows, was buried there in 1994, after succumbing to cancer.
The site will be open to the public.