Jan Howard, Country Singer-Songwriter, Dead at 91

Jan Howard
Joel Dennis

Howard died peacefully in Gallatin, Tennessee, on Saturday.

Rest in peace, Jan Howard. 

The country singer-songwriter died "peacefully" in Gallatin, Tennessee, the Grand Ole Opry -- of which she had been a longstanding member -- confirmed. She was 91. 

"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 to ET. "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 Howard's death broke during the live broadcast of the Opry's show on Saturday, featuring Vince Gill and Amy Grant. While onstage, Gill paid tribute to Howard, sharing that 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," according to The Tennessean. 

The Opry also dedicated the show to Howard. "You’re forever a Grand Lady of the Opry and of our hearts," read a tweet on Saturday evening. 

Howard's music career launched in 1960 with her first big country hit, "The One You Slip Around With." Over the course of her career, she had more than 20 Top 40 solo singles, including "Evil on Your Mind," "Bad Seed," and "Count Your Blessings, Woman."

She also wrote hits for other artists, such as Kitty Wells' "It's All Over But the Crying," Connie Smith's "I Never Once Stopped Loving You" and Bill Anderson's "Love Is a Sometimes Thing." 

In addition to her contributions to music, Howard is also remembered for her work with the armed forces, mental health, the Veterans Administration and more. Her song, "My Son," began as a letter to her son, Jimmy, in Vietnam, who was killed in action in 1968. 

Howard 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.

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