updated 7/19/2007 2:41:07 PM ET 2007-07-19T18:41:07

The Rev. Billy Graham is doing well and making plans for the future since his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died last month at age 87, his daughter Ruth said recently.

Ruth Graham said her mother’s long decline helped the family prepare for her death, and while her father’s “heart is heavy,” they’ve surrounded him with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The 88-year-old evangelist, she said, has plans for a new book.

Ruth Graham says her father also has plans to travel and is “even remodeling the house.”

Ruth Bell Graham died June 14 at her home at Little Piney Cove , surrounded by her husband and all their five children.

She had been bedridden for months with degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck and underwent treatment for pneumonia two earlier. At her request, and in consultation with her family, she had stopped receiving nutrients through a feeding tube for the last few days, spokesman Larry Ross said.

‘Men at Wheaton thought she was stunning’
She met Billy Graham at Wheaton College in Illinois. He recalled in 1997 memoirs, “If I had not been smitten with love at first sight of Ruth Bell I would certainly have been the exception. Many of the men at Wheaton thought she was stunning.”

Billy Graham courted her and managed to coax her away from the foreign missions calling and into marriage after both graduated in 1943. In 1945, after a brief stint pastoring a suburban Chicago congregation, he became a roving speaker for the fledgling Youth for Christ organization.

From that point onward she had to endure her husband’s frequent absences, remarking, “I’d rather have a little of Bill than a lot of any other man.”

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