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Joyce Knighton Howard age 87 of De Kalb, TX, passed away Monday October 17th, 2022, at home.

Services were held Saturday, October 22nd at Wards Creek Baptist Church.

Visitation was at 9am followed by the service at 10am.

She was born January 6th, 1935, to Caver and Mae Knighton in Buckner, AR. She grew up on the farm enjoying simple country life. After graduating high school, she went to Draughon School of Business in Little Rock. There she attended classes and was introduced by church friends to her future husband, Ken Howard. They were wed August 31st, 1956, in Temple Baptist Church in Little Rock.

After a couple of moves and being blessed with 3 daughters, Joyce Howard’s life changed forever in March of 1964. While visiting Dallas, Joyce was struck by a car that swerved into pedestrian traffic. She was in a body cast for 3 months and would eventually go through 30+ surgeries in her lifetime. However, when asked what she was thinking after waking up from the wreck, she responded, “I’ve got 3 little girls to raise, and I’ve got to get better.” This determination and perseverance became a defining value of her character. Not only did she persevere, but she used the opportunity to witness to anyone who was taking care of her.

After the accident, they resided in Dallas where they welcomed their 4th and final daughter. During this time, Joyce and her family were active in the church and served her community despite her handicap. This was also the time where she was a pillar for her family as Dr. Howard traveled extensively and relied on Joyce to take care of the home and children.

They eventually moved to East Texas, fulfilling a lifelong dream to live in a rural community. Joyce loved gardening and would spend hours outside, never one to shy away from manual labor. In fact, later in life, she fell in her garden and was found hours later, scooting along the ground, working her garden as if nothing had happened, putting out her tomato plants.

She lived out her days on the farm in De Kalb, seeing all her children marry and have kids of their own, and was able to meet her great grandchildren. You could always rely on an email from Granny that she sent out to her family members at the end of every day.

Joyce/Mamma/Granny leaves an incredible legacy of humility, hospitality, service, and perseverance for her family. She was never one for the spotlight or needing to receive praise for her work, but always labored behind the scenes. Whether washing dishes for a funeral or being the sole caretaker at home, she was a strong and steady force.

She often showed hospitality by opening her home to missionaries, new friends, and troubled family members. A person visiting Joyce’s home would always leave with a small gift that might be something from her garden or even a homemade sweet treat.

You cannot talk about Joyce without highlighting her heart for service. She would always have a meal for people in need, working hard labor on Guatemala mission trips, or quilting with her Dalby Springs community. The way she served her children in health and sickness, and later her grandchildren, may never be surpassed. She would always help watch the grandkids, make meals, change diapers, or sometimes just be a calm, steady presence.

Faith in Jesus is the best way to describe the reason behind Joyce’s perseverance. Her belief that God was good, that He had a plan, and that all things worked for the good of those that loved Him, provided a resilience and joyful attitude that provided the sermon and evangelism of her life. She had every right to complain about the lifelong pain from the car accident, or growing up in the Great Depression, but you never...ever heard a complaint from her lips.

In summation, the life of Joyce Knighton Howard is one to be celebrated, because it was a life well lived. When you sit and write an obituary for your mother, wife, and Granny there is laughter, tears of joy, funny stories, and nothing but fond memories. You know Joyce was welcomed into heaven with, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” We are confident she is now able to run on the streets of gold.

She is survived by her husband Dr. Ken Howard of De Kalb, TX and her daughters: Evelyn and Chris Follet of Greenville TX, Freida and David Houck of Taft, TN, Misty and Leaon King of De Kalb, TX, and son-in-law Randy Clark of Longview, TX.

She is also survived by 15 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren, brother Ray Knighton of Stamps, AR and twin brother Loyce and Corina Knighton of League City, TX.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Cheryl Clark of Longview, TX, her parents, and 7 siblings.

Online Registration at www.batesfamilyfuneralhome. com

Bowie County Citizens Tribune

139 E.N. Front Street
New Boston, Texas 75570