Grand Ole Opry member Jan Howard died peacefully on Saturday (March 28) in Gallatin, Tennessee, at the age of 91. She had been a member of the Opry for 49 years, inducted on March 27, 1971.
Jan’s music career launched in 1960 with her first major country hit “The One You Slip Around With.” That led to more than 20 Top 40 solo singles including “Evil on Your Mind,” “Bad Seed,” and “Count Your Blessings, Woman.” Her single “My Son” began as a letter to her son Jimmy in Vietnam, who was killed in action in 1968.
Many years later, her work with the armed forces, mental health, the Veterans Administration, Vietnam veterans, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial earned her the Tennessee Adjutant General’s Distinguished Patriot Medal, its highest civilian honor.
In 2005, the Commander in Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars presented her with the Medal of Merit, which is awarded for “exceptional service rendered to country, community and mankind.”
Jan also enjoyed success as a songwriter writing big hits for others like Kitty Wells (“It’s All Over But the Crying”), Connie Smith (“I Never Once Stopped Loving You”) and Bill Anderson’s (“Love Is a Sometimes Thing”). Jan joined Anderson’s syndicated TV show and tour, and the two topped the charts with the smash “For Loving You.”
She chronicled her life and career in her acclaimed autobiography Sunshine and Shadow: My Story.
“Jan Howard was a force of nature in country music, at the Opry, and in life,” said Grand Ole Opry Vice President and Executive Producer Dan Rogers. “We were all so lucky so many nights to hear her voice on stage and to catch up with her backstage. We’re all better for having had her in our lives.”
She is survived by one of her three sons, Carter A. Howard and his wife Pamela, two grandchildren, Mitsi H. Lindsay (Keith), Anita H. Simpson (Travis), and three great-grandchildren, Cole, Alli and Charlie.
Graveside services will be private with a Celebration of Life Service to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Overwatch Alliance Veterans Foundation, 1000 North Chase Drive, Goodlettsville, TN, 37072.