OBITUARY: Joanna Lynn Goforth Howell


Joanna Lynn Goforth Howell, 64, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, passed away on February 18th, 2024.

Joanna was born on July 29, 1959, to Harold and Bernice Goforth in Fort Payne, Alabama. She grew up in a very close-knit family in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. She was especially close to her grandparents: Alton and Josie Graham of Jasper, TN, and Evelyn Colburn of Chattanooga. The family’s official (and usually loud) card game was Rook. And of course, everybody knew, despite protests of their innocence, that either Harold or Charles was cheating!

After Joanna graduated from South Pittsburg High School in 1977, she went on to double major in psychology and sociology at Carson Newman University.

While at Carson Newman, Joanna met G.B. Howell, Jr. The couple got married in December 1980, immediately following early graduation. Joanna and G.B. had one daughter, JoyMarie Holder.

While her daughter was in high school, Joanna decided to further her education. She enrolled in Tennessee State University where she majored in school psychology. She graduated with her Master’s Degree in 2007.

Joanna was a pastor’s wife for many years and served in various capacities in their churches in Covington, Ivey, and Hapeville, Georgia. She adored children and loved working with them, especially in Vacation Bible School. She led children’s VBS conferences in several places throughout the state of Georgia. She also loved handbells and was delighted when the handbell choir from First Baptist Hapeville was invited to go to Wales for a musically based mission trip. The group referred to themselves as “The Wales Bells.”

While in Hapeville, Georgia, Joanna discovered a passion for travel. Because she became an avid bargain hunter, she and her family were able to travel much of the world for next to nothing. Joanna visited eighteen countries across four continents [Amsterdam, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Paraguay, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Wales] and more than half of the States.

While on her travels she collected both pins and shot glasses from the Hard Rock Cafe. She also collected a variety of nativity sets in her travels, some sacred and serious, others whimsical.

In the past few years, Joanna fulfilled her love of travel by watching videos of other families on their ventures. She was especially fond of watching people at Disney World; she also loved watching young children singing.

Joanna used her bargain-hunting skills to bless the lives of those around her. She had a unique knack for finding meaningful and useful gifts and enjoyed sending those to family and friends. Some of those are now being passed on to the next generation.

Joanna also had a diverse love for music. She played clarinet in her high school band. She loved the traditional piano player Dino and had a special fondness for singers such as Donny Osmond, Clay Akin, and Amy Grant. However, she also loved N*Sync, New Kids on the Block, and Bon Jovi. Joanna had a love for musicals and theater. She and her family saw dozens of shows in local productions and on Broadway. She also loved listening to musical soundtracks. Among her favorites were The Greatest Showman, Mama Mia, and Glee.

One of her favorite Bible verses reflects what she has now received: “There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8, CSB).

Joanna was predeceased by her father, Harold Goforth, and her mother, Bernice Goforth.

She is survived by her husband of 43 years, G.B. Howell, Jr, her daughter, JoyMarie Holder, her daughter-in-law, Lisa Holder, her brother, Doug Goforth (Beverly, wife, recently deceased), her sister, Donna Atkins (Jimmy, husband), and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at Hendersonville Funeral Home on Friday, February 23rd from 2:00 – 4:00 pm (central time). Her memorial service will be held immediately after at 4:00 pm. Leading the memorial will be Chris Johnson and Duane Brown.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Grace Church at or 1604 Long Hollow Pike, Gallatin, TN, 37066.


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