Tammy Faye Bakker, described in today’s New York Times obit headline with the crossword puzzle-sounding clue of “emotive evangelist,” died of cancer on Friday at age 65. She was a former resident of Gatlinburg. It was to that town that she and former husband, Jim Bakker, fled after their Praise the Lord enterprise collapsed in scandal in the 1980s.
Tennessee blogger BBeanster remembers her time in Sevier County:
“One day, I was leaving the Sevier County Courthouse and there were Tammy Faye and her son, Jamie, sitting on a bench next to the Dolly Parton statue. I stopped and said hi to them, and we talked for a few minutes. She told me how much she loved Dolly, and how she’d hoped to meet her while she (Tammy Faye) was there. But, she said, she guessed that wouldn’t ever happen, now that the Bakkers were so radioactive. I watched from a distance while her marriage ended, Jim went to prison, she remarried, became a gay icon, her son became a preacher and TV personality.
“It was painful to watch her wasting away.
“She was a good old girl, and the world will be a little duller for her leaving.”
Amen. Tammy Faye was probably the closest thing we will see to Aimee Semple McPherson in our lifetimes.