Image: Ruth Bell Graham
Chris O'meara  /  ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ruth Bell Graham, shown in 1998, gave up dreams of missionary work abroad to marry Billy Graham.
updated 6/16/2007 6:07:18 PM ET 2007-06-16T22:07:18

Billy Graham prayed then kissed a red rose and placed it on Ruth Graham’s casket during a private burial Sunday at the library recently opened in his honor.

Graham, 88, told his children and grandchildren that he was “looking forward to the ... next service here” when the world’s most famous evangelist is buried next to his wife, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Ruth Graham died Thursday at age 87 following a lengthy illness. She was her husband’s closest confidant, and was remembered Saturday during a public service in Montreat as a spiritual stalwart and modest mentor.

She was buried at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway in the woodsy Prayer Garden at the Billy Graham Library in her husband’s hometown.

Her family sang “Amazing Grace” and heard messages from Billy Graham and two ministers, according to Graham spokesman Larry Ross, who released an account of the service.

“The Bible says the Lord has prepared a place for us and I know He has prepared a home for her — I hope she saves a room for me,” Graham said of his wife of almost 64 years.

Ruth Graham’s casket was adorned with a bed of lilies, the Christian symbol for resurrection.

Billy Graham, like his wife, will be buried in a birch plywood coffin built by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. The Graham’s son Franklin made the request after seeing the coffins on a visit to the Angola prison and being struck by their simplicity, according to a statement from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The coffins cost $215 each.

Visitors to the library starting Monday can view Ruth Graham’s grave site.

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