Snake-handling pastor laid to rest - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Snake-handling pastor laid to rest

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Friends and family say goodbye to Pastor Jamie Coots. (Source: WBIR/CNN) Friends and family say goodbye to Pastor Jamie Coots. (Source: WBIR/CNN)

MIDDLESBORO, KY (WBIR/CNN) - Friends and family said goodbye to a well-known snake-handling pastor.

Jamie Coots died after he was bitten by one of those snakes.

Coots' funeral was held Tuesday in Middlesboro, KY.

He was remembered privately in his bell county community.

"He was a very funny man, but he was a man of great faith. He said what he meant and he meant what he said," said Bill Bisceglia, Creech Funeral Home. "And that was in all aspects of his life."

Biscegia manages Creech Funeral Home where loved ones stopped by Tuesday night.

A personal friend of the Coots family, he took note of the out-of-towners paying their respects.

"We're seeing a lot of faces that are not familiar to us. It's people from Tennessee and Virginia and other Kentucky churches," Bisceglia said.

Coots became famous for his unique and often dangerous style of worship.

He handled snakes and survived several previous bites before one this weekend took his life.

National Geographic profiled him, along with other Pentecostal serpent-handlers, on snake salvation.

But in Middlesboro he was just Jamie.

"Funny, just hilarious," said Terry Whited, a friend.

Whited met Coots when the pastor started driving school busses for the local district.

"We missed him this morning at McDonald's," she said. "He always went with us and we're going to miss him."

And as controversial as his worship style was, friends say Coots legacy will always be the strength of his faith.

"He believed what he believed and he believed it until the day he died," Bisceglia said. "How many of us were willing to die for our faith."

Copyright 2014 WBIR via CNN. All rights reserved.


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