Billy Graham son-in-law dies: 'Danny Lotz: God's Gladiator'

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
Courtesy BGEA

RALEIGH, N.C. (Christian Examiner) -- Danny Lotz, 78, the husband of Anne Graham Lotz, and son-in-law of evangelist Billy Graham, has died. Lotz reported her husband's death Wednesday in a post on her Facebook page, "Danny Lotz: God's Gladiator."

The Bible study leader died two dater after he was found in unresponsive in the swimming pool at his home and taken to the hospital where he was finally taken off life support "after every possible attempt was made," a statement from Rex Hospital reads.

Danny Lotz turned his life over to Christ at 15 following a meeting at the Bowery Mission in lower Manhattan, according to his wife's website. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in a story said he was riding over New York City's 59th Street Bridge with his dad and brothers when he made this important decision. He was born in Flushing, New York March 30, 1937.

In college Lotz played basketball for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where they won the 1957 National Championship. After suffering a broken leg he was forced to stop playing basketball, but Lotz went on to start the first chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in North Carolina.

A heartfelt message linked to the popular Bible study teacher and speaker's website includes 1 Chronicles 11:10 in a tribute: "Danny Lotz was a chief among The King's ... mighty warriors. He gave His Kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land."

Danny and Anne Graham were married 49 years before his death. When he was 50 the dentist developed adult onset type-1 diabetes and has struggled with complications of it since, suffering from blindness, hearing loss, heart disease and renal failure. He was on dialysis three days a week.

"And yet he never complained, never slowed down, never gave up, never stopped investing in the lives of others," the tribute reads.

Danny Lotz, March 30, 1937 - August 19, 2015 | Courtesy BGEA

"As a New Yorker he was plain spoken. As a German he was stubborn. As a Christian he was a compassionate servant leader. He was more than a man's man," the post continues. "He was God's man who triumphantly finished his race having fought the good fight, and having kept his faith firmly focused on the kingdom of God first."

Lotz and his wife have three children, Jonathan, Morrow and Rachel-Ruth.

Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville -- known as a second church to Billy Graham and his extended family -- offered words of comfort for Graham's daughter Brunson said has a great speaking and writing ministry.

"All that she and her husband and family have been through has been a light and an example to thousands," Brunson said. "They have faced tremendous struggles with great grace."

An article on the BGEA site adds further insight: "Danny was known as a devoted husband and father, grandfather and mentor, continuing to lead men's Bible studies in Chapel Hill into this year. But most of all he was known for his devotion to Jesus Christ."

Services have not been announced at this time.

"The Lotz family appreciates all the prayers and expressions of love and support that have poured in this week, which the Lord has used to sustain them during this time," said Rex Hospital. "They respectfully ask for privacy as they mourn their loss and celebrate the life and legacy of a great husband, father and man of God."