T.W. Wilson, longtime associate to Billy Graham, dies at 82
MINNEAPOLIS (BP)--Thomas Walter "T. W." Wilson, Billy Graham's longtime executive assistant, died unexpectedly the morning of May 25 near his home in Asheville, N.C. Wilson, 82, was a close, lifelong friend of Billy Graham and served as an associate evangelist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Wilson was recovering from the effects of a stroke two years ago.
Billy Graham said, "Ruth and I have lost one of the closest friends we ever had. He was a companion on most of the trips I have taken since 1962 all over the world. We prayed, laughed and wept on hundreds of occasions. I feel his loss very deeply, but I know where he is. He is in the presence of Jesus, and that's where he longed to be most of his life.
"Even though he had retired, he will be greatly missed by hundreds of people in our organization," Graham continued. "He was a great and wonderful friend to me and my family. Our love and hearts go out to his family -- his wife Mary Helen, his son Jim, his daughter Sally and their wonderful families. He loved them dearly. They will miss him the most."
Wilson was an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He graduated from college in 1941 with an A.B. degree in religion followed by graduate work at the University of Alabama. He served as pastor of Baptist churches in Alabama and Georgia before becoming vice president of Youth for Christ International.
From 1948-51, Wilson was vice president of Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis, while Billy Graham was president of the institution.
Wilson, as an evangelist, preached throughout the United States and many foreign countries before becoming an associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
A memorial service is planned for May 28 at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Swannanoa, N.C.
James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and a former SBC president, issued a statement to Baptist Press, recounting, "It was as a 17-year-old young preacher boy that I met T.W. Wilson. No one has ever demonstrated a servant spirit filled with devotion and loyalty to the Lord and to his calling than he. His faithfulness as a friend and minister have brightened my life over these years. He will be greatly missed. Thank God for a living picture of love, patience, integrity and true Christian character through the life of T.W. Wilson."
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: T.W. WILSON.