‘America’s Pastor’ Billy Graham held his final crusade in Queens nearly 13 years ago

QNS File Photo

Reverend Billy Graham, who died on Wednesday at the age of 99, had held back in Queens what turned out to be his final public crusade at Flushing Meadows Corona Park during the summer of 2005.

Graham, considered one of the world’s best-known evangelists dubbed “America’s Pastor” among many, died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. He was known for holding revival crusades throughout the country.

On June 24 through 26, 2005, Graham held a crusade at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park; it turned out to be his last.

The three-day event drew out over 90,000 New Yorkers of all faiths and denominations. At the time, Graham was 86 and suffering from various ailments, including Parkinson’s disease; he was also confined to a walker due to a pelvic fracture.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in remembering Graham on Twitter on Feb. 21, reminded the public that the site of Graham’s last crusade was “the most diverse county in the U.S. – fitting for someone who inspired so many people all around the world.”

Graham said at the time that the Queens crusade would be his last in America, but there was some hope that he would hold another somewhere else in the globe.

“We hope to come back again someday,” he told The New York Times. “I was asked in an interview if this was our last crusade. I said, ‘It probably is – in New York.’ But I also said, ‘I never say never.'”

Graham is survived by five children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruth McCue Bell, passed away in June 2007.

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