Evangelist Billy Graham remembered his close associate Dr. Sterling Huston, who died of cancer last week, as "indispensable" to his ministry, and recalled his confidence in the life-changing power of the Gospel.
"Sterling was one of my closest associates and his vision, his unique gifts and his strong commitment to evangelism were indispensable to my Crusade ministry," Billy Graham said of former director of North American Crusades for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association who died after a courageous battle with cancer on June 29 in Rochester, N.Y.
A memorial service for Huston, who was also chairman of Evangelism Explosion and the Internet Evangelism Coalition, has been scheduled for July 21 at Browncroft Community Church in Rochester, according to a statement by BGEA released Friday.
"Over the years Sterling organized and directed dozens of our city-wide crusades, and his winsome spirit and his confidence in the life-changing power of the Gospel inspired countless Christians to reach their communities for Christ," Graham said. "Without his dedication and careful attention to detail, our Crusade ministry would have been severely limited."
Franklin Graham, BGEA president and CEO, said Huston "will be greatly missed, as he was a wonderful servant of the Lord and a real friend," and added that all at BGEA were "indebted to him for his years of faithful service, especially to my father and his team."
Evangelism Explosion President Dr. John Sorensen remembered Huston as one of the great models of "elegant, godly Christian statesmanship in our time." He said Huston was "a man of strong commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and was truly a leader among leaders."
Huston, who was born on May 19, 1936, in Perham, Maine, was also a teacher and a speaker.
He studied engineering but after three years as an engineer with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, Huston left the industry and joined Youth for Christ as local executive director. In 1966, he was asked to join the Billy Graham team as a crusade coordinator, and later became director of Associate Crusades. He assumed the responsibility of director of North American Crusades in 1974, and in recent years served as BGEA's director of Special Ministries.
In 1984, he received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester. He has written two books, The Billy Graham Crusade Handbook (1983) and Crusade Evangelism and the Local Church (1984, revised edition 1996).
BGEA Chief of Staff Ken Barun recalled that even up to the last few weeks of his life here on earth, Huston "was working on BGEA matters. He was always, without fail, a perfect gentleman."
"Sterling was literally the first in my door to encourage and help me when I was asked to head up BGEA's new Internet evangelism efforts," said Duane Gaylord, vice president of video and digital media services.
Huston is survived by his wife of 47 years, Esther, and their two children, Todd and Alissa, and their families.