Tammy Faye Bakker
Tammy Faye Bakker (or Tammy Faye Messner under her second husband) was the wife of former televangelist Jim Bakker. Together they formed a mult-million dollar television ministry with their PTL show and Heritage USA Christian themepark. They were on television together and apart from talking she would also sing. At one time they claimed 500,000 partners, but that unfolded when a scandal between Jim Bakker and his former church secretary Jessica Hahn broke. Jim stepped down in 1987. Donations dried up and the ministry, which seemed to always be operating in the red, collapsed. Tammy stuck by her man after the scandal was announced and through the decline. She also stood by his side while Jim was brought up on charges and sentenced to a long prison term in 1989. She did, however, divorce him in 1992 while he was in prison. She remarried in 1993 to Roe Messner, although he also served a brief jail sentence two years later.
Tammy was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996. Tammy Faye kept up an active website detailing what was happening with her life and her battles. Her "lift your chin up" simple wisdom in the face of possible death helped to gain her respect that had been lacking during the 1980's PLT crisis where comments about her tended more towards wearing too much makeup than any talk of character. She also conducted herself well in 2004 when she was on the cast of the MTV show Surreal Life when the way she lived her life with simple Christian values came through, and yet being gracious in the face of cast members who had radically different lifestyles. In May, 2007 on her website, she said that doctors had stopped treating her for cancer, which had spread, and had done all they could do. She appeared on Larry King after that, not afraid to be seen looking emaciated, and talked about her condition.
Tammy Faye passed away on July 21, 2007. She was 65 years of age and is survived by both Jim Bakker and their two children and Roe Messner.