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James Kelly Howard, 76

James Kelly Howard, 76, of Harlan, passed peacefully from this life on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, following an illness.

He was born Dec. 30, 1944, and was a lifelong resident of Harlan County. James was retired as owner/operator of Howard Heating and Air Conditioning, a family business which was started by his father in the 1960s. He learned the value of hard work as a young man and continued this work ethic throughout his career. James enjoyed golfing as well as spending time with his family and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Kelly and Tannie Howard; and his parents-in-law, Wendell and Maxia Griffith.

Survivors include his beloved wife of over 53 years, Susan Howard, of Harlan; two daughters, Holly Howard Sparks, and husband Stephen, of Olive Branch, Mississippi; and Amanda Howard Haney, and husband Rob, of Winchester, KY; a son, Brad Howard, and wife Nikki, of Indianapolis, IN; four grandchildren, Grace Howard, Andrew Sparks, Anna Claire Sparks and Amelia Sparks; six sisters, Jean Barrier, and husband Jack; Joyce Hardy; Annette Mangino, and husband Paul; Christine Burchette, and husband Bobby; Debbie Dozier, and husband Phillip; and Peggy Haywood, and husband Allen; three brothers, Don Howard, and wife Linda; Fred Howard and wife Rhonda; and Michael Howard, and wife Pat; and sister-in-law, Gwen Morris, and husband Michael.

A private Celebration of Life service was held on Tuesday.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Harlan United Methodist Church, 201 East Mound Street, Harlan, KY 40831. Condolences may be left on our web page,

The family of James K. Howard is being assisted by Harlan Funeral Home.