Jan Crouch, co-founder with her husband, Paul Crouch, of religious broadcaster Trinity Broadcast Network, died on Tuesday at age 78 after suffering a stroke on May 25, TBN said in a statement from the Crouch family that praised her as a television figure who helped launch and expand TBN and said that "to thousands of orphans around the world, and those orphaned in spirit, she was Momma Jan, quick with a smile, a gift, and a word of encouragement."
Viewers of TBN, which began as a single station in Orange County, California, in May 1973, knew her from hosting and producing such shows as Praise The Lord, which was the network's signature program and the one it launched with. Today TBN, overseen by their son, Matthew, has more than 30 global networks and more than 20,000 television affiliates, according to TBN. The newest TBN outlet, Hillsong Channel, a collaboration with Hillsong Church, launches tomorrow (June 1).
Jan Crouch was the daughter of Pentecostal ministers -- her father helped found what is now Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. -- who met Paul Crouch when she was a student at Evangel College in Springfield, Mo., according to a biography published as part of a 40th anniversary special in Multichannel News. They were married in 1957. She formed the Smile of a Child Foundation humanitarian relief organization in 2005. Paul Crouch senior -- their son Paul Jr. is no longer affiliated with TBN -- died in 2013.