Jan Howard, Country Singer and Grand Ole Opry Member, Dead at 91

Jan Howard, a legendary country singer and member of the Grand Ole Opry, died on Saturday in Gallatin, Tennessee at age 91. The family will hold a private graveside service, with a public Celebration of Life Service to be scheduled at a later date. Howard's career began in 1960 and included the hits "The One You Slip Around With," "Evil On Your Mind," "Bad Seed" and "County Your Blessings, Woman."

"Jan Howard was a force of nature in country music, at the Opry, and in life," Grand Ole Opry Vice President and Executive Producer Dan Rogers said in a statement on behalf of the Opry. "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."

Howard is survived by son Carter A. Howard; his wife Pamela; two grandchildren, Mitsi Lindsay (Keith) and Anita Simpson (Travis); and three great-grandchildren, Cole, Alli and Charlie.

Howard was born in West Plains, Missouri. In 1957, she met Harlan Howard, an aspiring country music writer who began using Howard's vocals on demo recordings. Harlan, who became Howard's third husband, wrote the song "Mommy for a Day" and sent a demo with Howard singing to Nashville. The song became a hit for Kitty Wells, and Howard recorded other songs Harlan wrote. In 1959, she began recording singles with Wynn Stewart, and scored a hit with "Wrong Company."

In 1960, Howard recorded her first solo single, "The One You Slip Around With," which became a hit. That set her on a path to success, and earned mote than 20Top 40 solo singles.

Howard also recorded "My Son," which was a tribute to her son Jimmy, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968. This inspired her philanthropy with the armed forces. She worked with the Veterans Administration, Vietnam veterans and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. She received the Tennessee Adjutant General's Distinguished Patriot Medal and the Medal of Merit from the Commander in Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The singer also wrote songs that became hits for others, including Wells' "It's All Over But The Crying,"Connie Smith's "I Never Once Stopped Loving You" and"Love Is A Sometimes Thing" for Bill Anderson. Howard and Anderson had a major hit with "For Loving You" and often toured together.

0comments

Howard joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1971. She earned nominations at the Grammy Awards for "Evil On Your Mind" and "My Son." In 2005, she joined the Missouri Country Music Hall of Fame. She chronicled her life in the autobiography Sunshine and Shadow: My Story.

Photo credit: GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images