Tammy Faye Bakker, a televangelist and ex-wife of Jim Bakker, died from colon cancer in 2007 at age 65. Her death followed a lengthy battle with cancer. She was also known as Tammy Faye Messner following her divorce from Jim Bakker and marriage to Roe Messner.
The Bakkers lost their financial empire after Jim Bakker’s indictment in 1988 of eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy, ABC News reported. A jury found him guilty of all 24 counts. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison and ordered to pay a $500,000 fine. He was granted a sentence reduction and paroled after serving about 5 years of his sentence, ABC reported. Tammy Faye Bakker filed for divorce following his conviction and married Roe Messner. She was not indicted. Jim Bakker went back to TV after he was released from prison, and now hosts the Jim Bakker Show.
ABC 20/20 is revisiting the case on an encore episode, “Unfaithfully Yours.” It airs tonight, Friday, September 3, 2021, at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Here’s what you need to know:
Tammy Faye Bakker Was First Diagnosed With Colon Cancer in 1996 & Stopped Treatment in 2007
Tammy Faye Bakker’s battle with cancer lasted more than 10 years, according to Reuters. She was diagnosed with colon cancer, and in 2004, announced it had spread to her lungs, Reuters reported. She decided to terminate treatment in 2007, and died about two months later, according to ABC News.
She made the announcement that she would stop treatment on her website, saying that she weighed only 65 pounds and that she was ready to leave her condition “up to God and my faith.”
She wrote a “final note” on her website just days before her death. It said:
I have times when I feel good and times when I feel really bad. But, I have learned one thing about feelings. They have nothing to do with faith in God!!
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. That is what the Bible says and God’s word does not lie ever.
Tammy Faye Bakker Married Roe Messner, the Contractor for Their Theme Park, After Jim Bakker Was Sentenced to Prison Time
Tammy Faye Bakker filed for divorce from Jim Bakker after he was sentenced to 45 years in prison for fraud and conspiracy, according to ABC News. Although he was released after only five years, Bakker remarried during his prison sentence, wedding Roe Messner. Messner was the contractor for Heritage, USA, a theme park designed to be a Christian version of Disney World, ABC News reported.
Roe Messner was also sentenced to time in prison following Bakker’s indictment, ABC News reported. In 1996, he was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud, according to ABC News.
Roe Messner is alive and well today, according to his website, where he describes himself as “America’s Church Builder.” His website says he has built more than 1,800 churches.
“With 1,800 churches built, more than a million people come together every Sunday in churches designed and built by Roe Messner, the most renowned church builder of our time,” his website says.