Charlotte community reacts to death of Rev. Billy Graham

Charlotteans are reacting to the loss of native evangelist Billy Graham, who died at his home in Montreat Wednesday morning. 

On 104.1 The Bridge, radio hosts of “Kevin and Taylor in the Morning” broke the news to their Christian listeners that Billy Graham has gone home.

“Kind of a bittersweet day. Billy Graham has passed away,” announced the host. “Dr. Rev. Billy Graham, and it's bittersweet because what a loss and it marks the end of an era with him passing away, but it's sweet in that he's home!”

OTS Media Group Vice President, Chris Miller, says Billy Graham paved the way, not only for people to gain a stronger faith in Christ, but also for people in broadcast, such as himself.

“They were really the first Christian music radio station in the Carolinas,” he said, “so a lot of us that're in this field today, they took the torch and they ran with it and he's been doing that for decades.”

Known for being a man who lived as he preached, many we spoke to hope Billy Graham’s death would only inspire others to pick up where he left off.

“I would hope that some strong me would fill his shoes,” said Kim Prince. “They're big shoes to fill, but I would hope that we have more people that pick up the torch and carry it.”

Rick Wells said, “He had no agenda other than God and Jesus Christ. Period. So I felt, you know, that's what I think we're going to miss.”

Another woman remembers the moment she met Billy Graham.

"Honestly, of all the people I’ve met in my life, it was the most remarkable person I’ve ever met," said Mindy Coatney.

Coatney says she met Graham at Samaritan’s Purse where she worked with his son Franklin. "As he was passing by my desk, I took the opportunity to stand up and shake his hand."

A simple handshake that's now a memory she holds on to.

"The brief moment our eyes met it was magical. I'm not making him into a god, but there was something very unique and special about that man."

A man who she celebrates, not mourns.

"I can't really say that I’m grieving. I'm very happy for him that he's gone on to heaven and really celebrate that with his family."

His son, Franklin Graham says, "My father, Billy Graham, went into the presence of the Lord this morning... Many have said that his death ends an era, but he would be the first to say that when God's ambassadors die in Christ, the Lord raises up others... He has been reunited with my mother and has stepped into the eternal joy of Heaven in the presence of his Savior, in whom he placed his hope."

Mindy says, "He spoke the truth, he spoke simply, and he spoke to people's hearts. I think that will be his legacy."

Even though death is a part of life, what sticks with Graham’s followers the most is that today is just the beginning.

“What he said is, ‘one day you're going to hear that Billy Graham has died. Don't believe it,’” Miller quoted Graham, “’Because I did not die. Instead, I am home with my father in heaven.’”