Cliff Barrows, musical director of Billy Graham Crusades, dies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cliff Barrows, a longtime friend of the Reverend Billy Graham, has died.

Barrows was the musical director of the Billy Graham Crusades which formally began in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1947.

He remained active in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and served 66 years on the board of directors.

According to his biography on the BGEA website, Barrows first met Graham while Barrows was on his honeymoon with his wife, Billie, near Asheville in 1945.

Barrows was 93 years old.

Click to watch Billy Graham speak about Cliff Barrows:

“Cliff had the ability to lead people in song, not as entertainment, but really to open people's hearts up to the message that Billy Graham would give,” Leighton Ford said.

Evangelist Ford, Graham's brother-in-law, watched as the two men worked closely together in ministry for decades.

He calls Barrows the glue that kept everything together.

“He was known as the platform emcee,” Ford said. “He led the meetings. He also planned the meetings, produced television programs and radio programs. He was a fine preacher himself.”

A public funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 22 at Calvary Church in Charlotte, followed by a private interment.

“Cliff Barrows was the voice behind my father for 60 years, emceeing the platform for his Crusades and ‘The Hour of Decision’ radio program,” Franklin Graham said. “Not only was he one of my father’s closest friends, but he was a friend to all of us on the team and in the family. Growing up, and until the day of his death, I called him Uncle Cliff. He was very much a part of our family. My father has said: ‘The remarkable contribution Cliff has made to my ministry cannot be measured in human terms. I love him like a brother.’  His counsel and suggestions were invaluable. He was a great friend and will be missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ann and the entire Barrows family.”

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