Jessie  Howard

Jessie Lee Howard

1930 - 2018

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Obituary of Jessie Lee Howard

Jessie Lee Donathan Howard, 88, peacefully went to be with the Lord while in the care of Hospice of the Piedmont September 10, 2018. A private Graveside Service was held earlier.

A native of Guilford County, Jessie was born February 27, 1930, in Colfax to the late James Milton Donathan and Rosa Bell Robinson Donathan. She was the youngest of five children. She grew up in Colfax and was graduated from Colfax School. Following graduation, Jessie then obtained her LPN license degree from the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (UNCG) and then later her RN license degree from Guilford Technical Institute (GTCC) in 1972. She married the love of her life, Rev. Walter Vann Howard, in 1951 and they raised their two children in Greensboro. She began her nursing career at Moses Cone Hospital and then moved to Wesley Long Hospital as a Labor and Delivery nurse, from which she retired.

Jessie was known for her love of music, playing the piano and accordion, as well as her impersonation of Minnie Pearl. She won many local and regional talent contests as Minnie, also regularly performing for many churches and retirement groups. She even won the Mrs. Senior North Carolina 1999 competition, traveling to Las Vegas on a Greyhound bus to represent North Carolina in the Mrs. Senior America Pageant! Upon her arrival in Las Vegas, she was greeted at the bus station by Hollywood filmmaker Cooper Layne who documented the Pageant, creating a film entitled “Age of Elegance” in which Jessie was prominently featured. The film is still shown annually at the Mrs. Senior America Pageant.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Rev. Walter “Vann” Howard, one brother, and three sisters. Survivors include her daughter, Cindy Howard Spivey and her husband Rick; her son, Lee Howard; and her beloved poodle, Chiquita.

Her children wish to acknowledge and thank their mother’s diverse group of friends and associates that loved and cared for her so very much. We are eternally grateful to everyone.

Memorial contributions may be made in her honor to the UNCG Alumni Association, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, and/or Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, NC 27262.

Family and friends may view and sign the guestbook at