Jim Bob Duggar’s late uncle Tommy Lester “split” from his religious family before coming out as gay

JIM Bob Duggar’s late uncle Tommy Lester “split” from his religious family before coming out as gay.

Jim Bob’s uncle Tommy, 75, died June 25 of cardiac arrest at his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Jim Bob's uncle died of cardiac arrest at the age of 75


Jim Bob’s uncle died of cardiac arrest at the age of 75Photo credit: TLC
Tommy has


Tommy has “disconnected” from the religious family, a source claimsPhoto Credits: See caption

The US Sun can exclusively reveal that Tommy, 75, had “separated” from his family decades before his death.

A source told The US Sun: “Tommy walked away from the family decades ago.

“Nobody kept in touch with him at all. All the family knows is that he was gay and married. He separated from the family when the eldest Duggar children were young.”

Jim Bob, 57, and Michelle, 56, follow Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles, a religion that outright prohibits gay marriage.

Jim Bob and Michelle's Arkansas home is visited by police after their estranged uncle dies
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's Arkansas home is visited by police

The US Sun could not confirm whether religious beliefs were the reason Tommy distanced himself from his family.

Tragic happening

In an incident report available to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, authorities were responding to an “unattended death” on June 25 at the Arkansas home that Tommy shared with his husband, Lawrence Nestrud.

The report said: “First responders located Tommy Lester in the residence’s main bathroom. First responders took Tommy into the living room and attempted to give Tommy life-saving medical attention. I was told they were trying to get life-saving medical treatment until Tommy died.”

The officer contacted Tommy’s husband.

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Lawrence, 73, told the officer that Tommy “didn’t feel well the night before and fell several times.”

He claimed Tommy refused to go to the hospital when he wanted to take him away.

The report continued: “Lawrence said Tommy went to the bathroom this morning. He heard Tommy asking for help. Tommy had fallen against the door in the bathroom. Lawrence barged into the bathroom and Tommy didn’t respond. Lawrence contacted CEMS.

“I asked Lawrence about Tommy’s medical history. Lawrence stated that Tommy had not been diagnosed with any illness. Lawrence explained that Tommy’s memory was deteriorating and he fell more often.

“Tommy’s body was bruised early and late in healing, consistent with Lawrence’s statement of Tommy’s fall.”

The coroner said the death was “not suspicious” and Tommy “appears to have died of natural causes.”

It was determined that he died of “cardiac arrest”.


A separate report said authorities visited Jim Bob and Michelle’s home on the day of their deaths to conduct a “follow-up.”

Another source reported that US Sun officials went to the home to notify the Duggar family.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to the US Sun’s request for comment on the authorities’ visit to the Duggar compound.

“Friendly, gentle and intelligent”

In Tommy’s obituary, he is described as “kind, gentle, and intelligent.”

The obituary read: “He graduated from Fayetteville High School. Tommy served with honor in the US Navy aboard the USS Henderson (DD-785) during the Vietnam era. His sister died, Mary Lester-Duggar.

“Tommy is survived by his spouse Lawerence Nestrud; two siblings, Billie Lester of Farmington, Arkansas and Connie Beard and her husband Layne of Pea Ridge, Arkansas and numerous other family members.”

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The funeral service will take place on June 29th.

Despite the estrangement, the obituary states that Jim Bob and Michelle’s son-in-law, Pastor Ben Seewald, will officiate at the funeral.

That same day, authorities visited Duggar's home to conduct a


That same day, authorities visited Duggar’s home to conduct a “follow-up.”Photo credit: Getty
Jim Bob and Michelle's son-in-law leads the service despite their estrangement


Jim Bob and Michelle’s son-in-law leads the service despite their estrangementPhoto credit: Instagram/jessaseewald


CELINE CASTRONUOVO is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. CELINE CASTRONUOVO joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: celine@dailynationtoday.com.

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