Cover photo for Howard Ledbetter's Obituary
Howard Ledbetter Profile Photo
1928 Howard 2022

Howard Ledbetter

July 16, 1928 — May 19, 2022

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7

Howard Payne Ledbetter, 93, of Fall Branch, passed away on May 19, 2022, at Franklin Woods Hospital. Howard was born in Fall Branch and spent childhood years in Johnson City and the Lamar community. He was born July 16, 1928, to William Roy and Sarah Justine Payne Ledbetter.

Howard graduated from Lamar High School and attended one year at Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens, TN and one year at East Tennessee State University prior to joining the Air Force. He served mostly at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines during the Korean Conflict. After completing his military service, he restarted his educational pursuits, earning a bachelor’s degree at former Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, Oklahoma (since renamed Southern Nazarene University), a master’s degree from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth and a Doctor of Education from North Texas State University in Denton. He taught 12 years in middle and high school in the Fort Worth area. Upon receiving his doctorate in education, he began his career in higher education, which first took him to Kansas, then to Indiana and Nebraska and finally back to Tennessee where he retired from East Tennessee State University.

In addition to being committed to higher education, Howard also had a heart for Christian education and found many ways to contribute as a lay person in each church to which he belonged. While in Texas, he served as a part-time youth minister, began a kindergarten in the church, helped build a church and parsonage and then helped grow the congregation. He was a member of Munsey Memorial UMC in his youth and would frequently recall how he managed to work nine summer camps in one summer as a lifeguard. After moving back to Johnson City in 1978, he rejoined Munsey where he has served on various boards and committees and is a long-time member of the Virgil Anderson Sunday School Class.

In addition to his parents and an infant sister, Frances, Howard was preceded in death by: his sisters, Mary Ann Ledbetter Mobley and Lindaree Ledbetter Pearce; and his brother, Thomas Wheeler Ledbetter.

Survivors include: his wife of 51 years, Nora Beth Ledbetter; three sons, William S. (Deborah), David R. and Marcus P. (Jennifer); one sister, Jane Ledbetter Ernst; seven grandchildren, Kathrine Ledbetter Smith (Kenneth), Abigail M., Michael C. (Valerie), Nicholas A., Tuck E., Samuel P. and Eliza W. Ledbetter; one great grandson, Theodore Charles Howard Smith (Teddy); also several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 28, 2022, at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church, Johnson City, followed by a public visitation and reception in the church. The family will have a private inurnment at the Courtyard Columbarium at Munsey prior to the memorial service.

The family of Howard Ledbetter are grateful to all the staff at Franklin Woods, including the In-Hospital Hospice Care Staff, who cared for Howard. They are also grateful for the generous assistance provided by the VA.

If desired, memorials may be made to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund at Munsey Memorial UMC or to Holston Home for Children in Greeneville, TN.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Howard Ledbetter, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church

201 South Roan Street, Johnson City, TN 37601

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