Famed Evangelist pastor Billy Graham is being remembered fondly in Saskatchewan after he died Wednesday at the age of 99.
The television and radio preacher only visited the province once — a surprise appearance at his son Franklin’s Sask. Place event in 1995 — but Graham still left an impression.
“I really liked him, I thought he was a genuine Christian,” said Norma, a Saskatoon resident who sang in the choir at the 1995 event.
“He was a good man, a very pleasant person.”
Those who weren’t able to attend his appearance in Saskatoon were still affected by his teachings.
Gerald Overlied, also a Saskatoon resident, said he watched Graham’s television sermons.
“He’s had a good life and done a lot of good work,” Overlied said.
Texan-turned-Canadian Jeanne Blackmon — who moved to Saskatchewan in 1983 — said she was saddened by the news of Graham’s death.
“The world will be a lesser place without him,” she said.
Blackmon was raised in Houston, Texas and was able to meet Graham in person while living there. She said a photo with the pastor is one of her “treasured” scrapbook additions.
“He was funny, very humorous,” she recalled. “Upright and very honest.”
Local pastor hopes Graham’s message endures
Saskatchewan’s Evangelist community also reacted to Graham’s death on Wednesday.
Sutherland Evangelical Church pastor Dale Doerksen told 650 CKOM the charismatic evangelist was respected for his commitment to the Bible and the word of God.
“I appreciate he was willing to stick with that whether it was a popular message or a less popular one at times,” Doerksen said.
An obituary for Graham noted he had preached to over 200 million people throughout his life.
Doerksen hopes the message will continue to spread.
“Maybe there’s an ongoing legacy that can happen as people remember,” he said.