‘Counting On’ Stars React After Duggar Family Matriarch “Grandma” Mary Duggar Dies Suddenly

It’s a sad day for the Duggar Family.

The TLC reality stars used their official Facebook page to break the news that Grandma Mary Duggar had died suddenly on Sunday. 

Mary— who was the mother of Jim Bob Duggar— was featured frequently on both 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On. Her death must have been very unexpected, as large group of Duggars spent Sunday attending the Alert Academy graduation of Jason and James. Just two days earlier, an assortment of Dugs were at Silver Dollar City amusement park in Branson, Missouri. (It’s unlikely the family would have left the state had Grandma Duggar been ill.)

Mary had just celebrated her 78th birthday, on the same day that her granddaughter, Jessa Seewald, gave birth to her daughter Ivy last month.

Although the Duggars have yet to reveal how Mary died, they did mourn her loss on social media.

“We are so sad to share that Grandma Duggar (Mary) passed away Sunday afternoon, June 9th, 2019,” a message posted to the Facebook page reads. “Mary Lester Duggar grew up in Farmington, Arkansas and was married almost 50 years to J.L. (Jimmy Lee) Duggar who preceded her in death…”

Later on in the post, the family wrote about Mary’s extra-large family and her stint as a reality TV star.

“She is survived by her daughter Deanna and her son Jim Bob, 21 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, with several more great-grandchildren on the way!” the post reads. “Mary Duggar was also a successful real estate broker who owned Good Neighbor Realty… Grandma Mary Duggar has been on the TLC shows, “19 Kids & Counting” and ‘Counting On’ with her family for over 15 years.

“She is greatly loved and will be missed so very much! She lived a tremendous life as a follower of Christ, a wife, a devoted mother, a loving mother-in-law, and a much-loved grandmother. Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the virtuous woman, indeed she personified these beautiful verses with her life.”

It has been long-rumored that Grandma Mary was actually responsible for the Duggar clan getting their first TV special, after she called several networks to gauge their interest in her son’s supersized family. While that report has never been officially confirmed by the Duggars, they have acknowledged that Mary played a huge part in their family over the years, taking over laundry duty for the Duggars and renting out several of her houses to the Duggar kids after they got married. (Jessa and Ben are currently living in one of Mary’s houses.)

The Duggars took to their personal Instagram accounts to express their sadness over the loss of their grandmother.

“Great-Grandma Duggar went to heaven today to be with Jesus!” Anna Duggar wrote on Instagram. “What an awesome woman of faith and such a loving example of God’s love. She was a true soul-winner and loved everyone she met, telling them to turn from sin and trust Jesus for salvation! Miss her soooo much and we cherish each moment we were blessed to spend together! Lots of tears being shed here — grateful for all the prayers.”

“My heart breaks,” Jill Dillard wrote. “My grandma died suddenly today! She was an amazing woman of God and such a great example to so many! Grandma, you are greatly missed by all who knew you! She was a feisty, incredible woman who always took the time to talk about Jesus with everyone she knew! I know she was ready to check outta here and get her new body in heaven before the old one started giving her too much trouble! We miss you so much!!”

UPDATE! More of the Duggars have posted tributes to their Grandma on social media, including Cousin Amy Duggar, who was particularly close with Grandma Duggar.

“It breaks my heart to write this,” Amy wrote. “My best friend passed away yesterday afternoon. Jesus sure took home a treasure. I’m at a loss for words, shaking as I even type this out. I loved her so much. She helped raise me, we did everything together. We’ve been on countless trips, we had lunch together 3 times a week, and if we weren’t together we were either texting or calling each other. She was so supportive and was so excited to meet our little guy. I just can’t believe she is really gone…” 

View this post on Instagram

It breaks my heart to write this. My best friend passed away yesterday afternoon. Jesus sure took home a treasure. I'm at a loss for words, shaking as I even type this out. I loved her so much. She helped raise me, we did everything together. We've been on countless trips, we had lunch together 3 times a week, and if we weren't together we were either texting or calling each other. She was so supportive and was so excited to meet our little guy. I just can't believe she is really gone… thank you for the kind messages and every prayer lifted up for our family and I during this difficult time. .My heart just hurts and my life will never be the same. Mema you will always be so precious to me and you were such a light who impacted so many lives. You lived joyously, and beautifully..and I will miss you every single day.. I know though you are in perfect peace and we will see you again.

A post shared by Amy King (@amyrachelleking) on

Jana Duggar and Jinger Vuolo, among others, also posted about Grandma Duggar’s death.

“Grandma Duggar will be greatly missed!” Jana wrote. “On her last morning spent here on earth I drove Grandma to church where she worshiped her Savior. Later that afternoon, she went to meet Him face to face! I’d say that’s probably how she would’ve chosen to finish out the day if she got to pick.”

View this post on Instagram

Grandma Duggar will be greatly missed!! ❤️ – On her last morning spent here on earth I drove Grandma to church where she worshiped her Savior. Later that afternoon, she went to meet Him face to face! I’d say that’s probably how she would’ve chosen to finish out the day if she got to pick. 😊 – Grandma made a deep impact on each of our lives—first and foremost through her relationship with Jesus Christ, and secondly through her example of sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus with others! She would always be talking about the day she would see her Savior’s face and how much she looked forward to it! Yesterday was that day! She knew where she’d spend eternity and wanted everyone else to know that for themselves too. – This song reminds me of Grandma’s life. – 🎶 “When We See Christ” 🎶 Sometimes the day seems long, Our trials hard to bear. We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair. But Christ will soon appear to catch his bride away! All tears forever over in God's eternal day! — IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL WHEN WE SEE JESUS! — Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase. So, BRAVELY RUN THE RACE TILL WE SEE CHRIST. – May we all be reminded to run this race of life looking at the Author and Finisher of our faith. “Only one life, twill soon be past—only what’s done for Christ will last.” • #grandmaduggar #leavingalegacy #weloveyou

A post shared by Jana Duggar (@janamduggar) on

“Yesterday, this precious woman went home to be with Jesus,” Jinger wrote. “Our hearts are broken, yet at peace, knowing that she is now in glory with her Savior. She was the best grandma, counselor, friend, woman of faith, bargain shopping buddy, McDonald’s fish sandwich lovin’ lady, who was always up for an adventure—whether across town or across the world! She loved the Lord more than anything, and thus shared the hope of Jesus Christ with everyone who crossed her path. She was always there for her family, and was so sacrificial in her service toward us. She will be greatly missed. Thank you for your prayers for our family during this immensely difficult time.

(Photos: TLC, Instagram, Facebook)

24 Comments

  1. I heard she was found floating in the pool by her home. Sound like she tripped or had another stroke. Terrible. I wonder who found her?


    1. Too many exclamation points!

      Though I think it is weird that people immediately post about a family member’s death on social media. Especially when you are using exclamation points and emojis.


    2. Yes, kind of creepy yet saddening. Remember though, these people LIVE to serve jesus and talk/pray to Him every day. They believe they will see everyone in heaven and that’s the ending point to this life. They celebrate deaths rather than mourn it seems. Still kind of creepy honestly.


  2. I think she had a different religion than the one that Jim Bob chose to follow as an adult. Just like Michelle grew up following something different. But when Jim Bob and Michelle started their family and decided to follow their religion’s ways, it’s not like the grandmother could tell them no, even if she disagreed with it. It was their family and that’s the route they chose to go. I’m sure she still loved them and they loved her, even if they didn’t believe the same exact way.


  3. Poor thing needed a rest. She helped raise/ take care of all the Duggar kids and now all the kids are having kids… grandma Duggar was like ‘fuck that, I’m going with the lord to REST!! Rest in peace grandma Duggar.


  4. She and her husband kissed on the second date! Scandalous! And they were married for 50 years, yet Jim Bob didn’t allow this freedom to his daughters……RIP Mary, you were always my fave.


    1. Jim Bob and Michelle have custody of one kid named Tyler. They are probably including him. Not sure about the other one.


    2. Maybe they are counting Jubilee who died.
      Or maybe there was another child out of wedlock that is an older half sibling to Amy or something that isn’t discussed on the show.


  5. RIP. But hold on…she was a broker who owned her own business and she had no issue with the girls not continuing their education or working outside the home?


    1. It’s never said that she didn’t encourage them or had no issue with them not continuing their education. You never know…she may have been trying to get them on TV to get them out of that life. She was more quiet that JB and Michelle, she could be responsible for encouraging the more outspoken Duggar girls being the way they are.


    2. She wasn’t into that crazy cult life and neither Is her daughter. Jim Bob and Michelle are the ones who decided to live that way, no one else in the family did. Grandma only moved with them when grandpa was terminally ill and needed a hand taking care of him. She stayed for a while after his death, but ended up moving out of that crazy house and went to live with her daughter.


    3. I think she had a different religion than the one that Jim Bob chose to follow as an adult. Just like Michelle grew up following something different. But when Jim Bob and Michelle started their family and decided to follow their religion’s ways, it’s not like the grandmother could tell them no, even if she disagreed with it. It was their family and that’s the route they chose to go. I’m sure she still loved them and they loved her, even if they didn’t believe the same


  6. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “trash”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (comment token failure) *]
    So sorry for your lost but heaven had to clain their angel.May God bless all of you in your greif for you Mom,and grandmother.


  7. So sorry to hear your news God bless you all as I know she will be missed greatly! Love and prayers.. Sincerely, Marilyn

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