Billy Graham's spiritual journey began and ended in North Carolina

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MONTREAT, N.C. (AP) - While the Rev. Billy Graham's travels took him as far away as the Soviet Union and China, he always came back to his native North Carolina, a place of refuge and spiritual refueling.

In the process, the most famous evangelist in American history became one of North Carolina's favorite sons.

The highway running past the world headquarters of his evangelical empire in Charlotte is called Billy Graham Parkway. The chapel in the mountain town of Montreat where he was married in 1943 is named in his honor. And a 2011 poll found him to be the most revered person in the state, beating out TV star Andy Griffith and basketball coach Dean Smith.

Graham died Wednesday at age 99.

Franklin Graham says his father always thought of himself as simply a farm boy from North Carolina.

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