Cliff Barrows Memorial a Service of Celebration

By Tommy Berry and TJ Petrino   •   November 22, 2016

wide shot of crowd
Hundreds gathered at Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Tuesday, and many more watched online to honor the life and legacy of Cliff Barrows, who passed away on Nov. 15 at age 93.
crowd in pews
The ornate sanctuary provided a beautiful setting for remembering Mr. Barrows, who took every chance he could to praise God.
Cliff Barrows' casket
Mr. Barrows didn't want flowers or a lot of frills. Instead, he only requested that a special blanket made out of Crusade shirts drape his casket. The blanket was once gifted to him.
Cliff Barrows directing
Many shared memories of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's beloved music director—often mentioning his waving arms and big expressions as he led Crusade choirs. Here he is with Ethel Waters.
Bonnie Barrows Thomas
Mr. Barrows' daughter, Bonnie, talked about how selfless her father was. "Dad never liked people talking about him, and if they did, he would always turn the spotlight back on them ... and then talk about Jesus."
Ben Thomas
Mr. Barrows' grandson, Ben Thomas, described his "papa" as "the real deal"—a man who took time to make everyone feel special.
Ann Barrows
Ann Barrows took the stage, thanking everyone for loving her dearest "Cliffy" all these years.
Cliff and Ann Barrows
Mr. and Mrs. Barrows often talked of how one was a blessing to the other. The pair married in 1996 after they both lost their spouses to cancer.
David Bruce
David Bruce, Billy Graham's longtime executive assistant, reflected on his times with Mr. Barrows. "Of all the things I remember most ... it was his voice."
Ann Barrows
Ann Barrows sings along with family.
Cliff Barrows and Billy Graham
Once speaking of Mr. Barrows, Billy Graham said, "He and I have been like brothers … all these years. And did you know Cliff and I, during all this period of time, we’ve never had an argument. And this is due to his wonderful spirit.”
Musicians playing
Mr. Barrows wanted two things prominent at his funeral: singing and the Word of God.
Tom Bledsoe
Tom Bledsoe has shared many stages and led many songs with Mr. Barrows. At Tuesday's memorial service, he led the crowd in one of Mr. Barrows' favorites: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."
Singing praises to God—something that always made Mr. Barrows smile.
Gaither Vocal Band
The Gaither Vocal Band has numerous memories of singing with and for Mr. Barrows. At the memorial service, they performed "My Savior First of All" and "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go."
Will Graham
Will Graham grew teary eyed thinking of his "Uncle Cliff." At the end of the funeral, Will took time to read a letter from his father, Franklin Graham, who couldn't attend the service because he'd just finished preaching the Gospel in Myanmar.
Bev Shea, Cliff Barrows, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham
For more than 60 years, Mr. Barrows dedicated his life to BGEA and serving God with his whole heart alongside George Beverly Shea (left) and Billy Graham (far right).
service program
And the memorial service did just that.