Jan Howard, Country Singer-Songwriter and Grand Ole Opry Member, Dies at 91
Jan Howard, who was the oldest living Grand Ole Opry member, died on Saturday
Jan Howard, a country singer-songwriter and longstanding member of the Grand Ole Opry, has died. She was 91.
Howard, who had been a member of the revered institution for nearly 50 years, “passed away peacefully” on Saturday in Gallatin, Tennessee, according to a statement from the Grand Ole Opry.
“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.”
News of her death broke during the live broadcast of the Opry’s Saturday show, which featured Vince Gill and Amy Grant, according to The Tennessean. While onstage, Gill, 62, paid tribute to Howard, saying they “spent an awful lot of time over on that side of the stage, telling jokes and having a great friendship for over 30 years.”
The Opry went on dedicate the evening’s performance to Howard. “You’re forever a Grand Lady of the Opry and of our hearts,” they wrote on Twitter.
Howard’s country career took off in 1960, when she scored her first hit with “The One You Slip Around With,” which was written by her second husband Harlan Howard and Fuzzy Owen.
Over the course of her career, she had more than 20 Top 40 solo singles, including “Bad Seed” and “Evil on Your Mind.” Also, “For Loving You,” her duet with Bill Anderson, which reached No. 1 on the country charts, according to Rolling Stone. She also enjoyed success with songs written for other performers, including Kitty Wells’ “It’s All Over But the Crying” and Anderson’s “Love Is a Sometimes Thing.”
Howard earned two Grammy Award nominations, one for “Evil on Your Mind” and a second for “My Son,” which began as a letter to her real-life son Jimmy, who was killed in action while fighting in Vietnam. Later on in life, the singer, who continued to work with the armed forces and veterans, received the Tennessee Adjutant General’s Distinguished Patriot Medal, its highest civilian honor.
Howard was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in March 1971, and was the oldest living member at the time of her death, according to The Tennessean.
She is survived by son Carter and his wife Pamela, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, her family asks that donations be made to the Overwatch Alliance Veterans Foundation.