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Jan Howard, Grand Ole Opry Legend, Dies at 91

Country music star Jan Howard performs during the Grand Ole Opry's last show at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., March 18, 1974. (AP Photo/John Duricka)

Jan Howard, country singer, songwriter, author and a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 49 years, passed away on Saturday, March 28 in Tennessee. She was 91.

The Grand Ole Opry shared a tribute to the late country legend and a treasured member of its family. The March 28 broadcast of the program is dedicated to Howard.

"You're forever a Grand Lady of the Opry and of our hearts. Tonight's show is dedicated to Jan."

Howard, born Lula Grace Johnson in West Plains, Missouri, scored her first country hit with "The One You Slip Around With." The song, penned by Fuzzy Owen and Howard's third husband, famous country songwriter Harlan Howard, was a top 20 hit in 1960 and kicked off  the country legend's lengthy career. She and Harlan Howard moved to Nashville, where she recorded the hits "Evil on Your Mind," "Bad Seed," and "My Son," which she wrote about a letter she wrote to her son while he was serving in Vietnam. In 1968, Howard's son was killed in battle.

Howard recorded several duets with Bill Anderson, including "For Loving You," a hit from the album of the same name.

She also wrote hits for others, including "It's All Over But the Crying" (Kitty Wells), "Love is a Sometimes Thing" (Bill Anderson) and "I Never Once Stopped Loving You" (Connie Smith).

In 1971, Howard was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, where she remained a beloved staple of the show.

The country music legend shared her the story of her life in her 1987 autobiography Sunshine and Shadow: My Story. She wrote poems and short stories throughout her life.

The country legend devoted her life to supporting veterans, working with the Veterans Administration, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veteran. In 2005, the Commander in Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars awarded Howard the Medal of Merit for "exceptional service rendered to country, community and mankind."

 

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Jan Howard, Grand Ole Opry Legend, Dies at 91