Doug Coe Cause of Death: How Did the Leader of ‘The Family’ Die?


Doug Coe is the spiritual leader who serves as a focal point for Netflix‘s new television documentary called The Family. He just passed away a couple of years ago in 2017. Read on to learn more about his cause of death and his recent years, and see his funeral service as shared by McLean Bible Church.

Doug Coe Died After Being Hospitalized from a Heart Attack & Stroke at the Age of 88

Doug Coe died February 21, 2017 at his home in Annapolis, Maryland, the New York Times reported at the time. Before his death, he had been hospitalized after a heart attack and a stroke. You can watch a video of his funeral service above.

When he died, he was surrounded by his wife, five children, and most of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to his obituary. His family sang songs and hymns to him in his last moments. His obituary read: “As in life, he wanted his passing to point others to Jesus, to whom he faithfully pointed the way for others rather than elevating himself, over a remarkable career of behind-the-scenes influence spanning nearly seven decades.”

A. Larry Ross was the family spokesman who confirmed the death to The New York Times. Ross is one of the main people interviewed during Netflix’s documentary, The Family. 

Coe died at the age of 88. He was born on October 20, 1928 in Medford, Oregon.

He Was Married for 68 Years & Had Five Living Children & 21 Grandchildren

McLean Bible Church

Coe’s wife of 68 years, Jan Coe, said about her husband: “I am so proud of Doug and his decades of service to our Lord, constantly pointing the way to Jesus rather than elevating himself. We are going to miss him, but are comforted knowing that he is now in the presence of Jesus, whom he faithfully served all of these years.”

He and Janice have five children: Timothy (married to Elena and living in Annapolis), David (married to Alden and living in Annapolis), Debbie (married to Doug Burleigh and living in Annapolis, Maryland), Paula (married to Lee Corder and living in Arlington), and Becky (married to Ken Wagner and living in Annapolis).

Their sixth son, Jon, died before Doug Coe, The New York Times reported. Jon was married to Lisa Coe Parker and died in 1985.

Warren Throckmorton shared the following statement from his family after his death: “Despite our personal sadness, we have joy in knowing that he is now with Jesus and at peace. All for which he gave his life and tirelessly revealed to so many makes complete sense to him now. He is with family and friends who have gone on before, perhaps saying, ‘See, I told you.'”

They have 21 grandchildren and 56 great-grandchildren.

He Was Called the ‘Stealth Billy Graham’ & Many Wrote Tributes About Him When He Died


The New York Times article noted that Coe’s organization sponsored the National Prayer Breakfast, and he was praised by Hillary Clinton in her 2003 memoir. She referred to Coe as a “genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith.”

Time called him the “stealth Billy Graham” in 2005, one of the country’s most influential evangelical leaders.

After he died, Franklin Graham tweeted:

O.S. Hawkins wrote:

Many people wrote tributes to him on his memorial page. Friend Ralph Kader wrote: “Doug was first and foremost a spiritual role model who touched the lives of so many with the love of Jesus. He brought the world together through his tremendous ministry and never sought the spotlight. It was always a privilege to be in his company and we appreciated his friendship and mentorship over the years. We especially valued his immense support when our son passed away.”

Friend Gail Elliott wrote: “If you knew Doug Coe, you already know that Doug loved people, loved his family, and loved Jesus. Even though he had many many friends all over the world, and there was always someone wanting his attention, when he was talking to you, he made you feel like you were the only person that mattered right then. You had his undivided attention and love. He will be greatly missed by all.”

Coe himself once wrote: “Early on I thought the work of God was evangelism, but I soon realized the only person I could evangelize or disciple was myself. I learned from Billy Graham that the Gospel isn’t three or five points; it’s a Person – Jesus. God is love, and since Jesus is God, then the Gospel is also love.”