On February 21, William Franklin Graham Jr., better known as Billy Graham, died at the age of 99.
During his time, Billy became one of the world’s most famous and influential Christian evangelists, earning the nickname “America’s Pastor,” after having his sermons heard by over 250 million people during his 60-plus year career.CC/Wikimedia
Billy Graham laid in honor in the United States Capitol Wednesday and Thursday before his Friday funeral in Charlotte, NC.
His son, Franklin Graham, who followed in his father’s footsteps becoming Christian evangelist and missionary, revealed the story behind the casket in which his father was laid.
Billy’s grandson, Roy, narrated the video:Franklin Graham/Facebook
The casket was handmade by a man named “Grasshopper.”
He is a convicted murderer who is currently serving time at the Angola Prison in Louisiana.Franklin Graham/Facebook
Grasshopper’s real name is Richard Leggit. He is a senior carpenter at the penitentiary and spends his time building coffins for the other inmates, amongst other projects.
Grasshopper said he had been an inmate at Angola for the last 35 years; he “builds every casket just like I would have mine built.”Franklin Graham/Facebook
Being buried in a casket made by prisoners is like a final statement of his life’s work, explained one of Billy’s grandsons:
“My grandpa’s always preached on the humility of man. In order to grow Christ like this we must humble ourselves, and I think that this is kind of his final statement to that effect, where he’ll be buried in a coffin that’s made by poor prisoners.”
Billy’s wife, Ruth, was also laid to rest in a coffin built by Angola prisoners.
Grandson Roy also explained how his grandparents learned about Grasshopper’s coffin making skills.Franklin Graham/Facebook
“We were down there for a prison rodeo and my father had seen these caskets being made. He came back and told my grandmother he bought her a gift. He bought her a casket made by prisoners and my grandmother thought it was outstanding.”
“The prisoners are people who need forgiveness too. That’s what my grandmother loved about it, that we all need forgiveness.”
Over 100,000 people have since shared that story behind Billy and Ruth’s coffins. Many have called the story “beautiful” and “just another example of Billy Graham’s character, even after death.”
You can watch the full feature below: