Tammy Faye Messner to be remembered in Rancho Mirage

KNBC, Los Angeles/September 10, 2007

Rancho Mirage, California -- A memorial will be held Monday night for Tammy Faye Messner at the Rancho Mirage church the former TV evangelist attended for nearly 20 years.

The public is invited to attend the 7 p.m. service at Victory Christian Center, 34500 Bob Hope Drive.

Messner died July 20 at her home near Kansas City from complications of colon cancer and was buried in a private funeral at a family plot in Kansas. She was 65.

Roe Messner, Tammy Faye's widower, is scheduled to be at the memorial, but was not expected to speak.

Another memorial is set for Nov. 18 in Palm Springs, where friends and celebrities, including CNN talk show host Larry King, are scheduled to appear.

The former wife of Jim Bakker helped build a broadcast empire. The two started in TV in the mid 1960s, as the original hosts of Pat Robertson's "The 700 Club" on his Christian Broadcasting Network.

In 1974, they founded the Praise The Lord network and hosted the "Jim and Tammy Show." They also created "Heritage USA," a 2,300-acre religious theme park and resort in South Carolina.

Bakker was later caught in a sex scandal involving church secretary Jessica Hahn and, in 1989, was sent to prison for illegally bilking donors out of $158 million.

While Bakker was in prison, she divorced him and, in 1993, married Messner, who was sentenced to 27 months in prison for bankruptcy fraud in 1996.

She was diagnosed with colon cancer that year and was told, in 2004, that the cancer had spread to her lungs.

Just days before she died, an emaciated Messner discussed her life and her impending death on King's CNN show.

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