History of the Restoration Movement

Verna Elisha Howard


Brief Sketch on the Life of V.E. Howard

V.E. Howard was born in Farmersville, Louisiana on September 29, 1911. He was baptized in October of 1930. He was married to the former Ruth Jackson on December 20, 1931. To their marital union was born Jasper Smith, Vernon Edgar and Marilyn Kay.

Brother Howard began preaching May 24, 1931 in Powen, Texas. He attended Abilene Christian College, Harding College, and Arkansas State University. In his illustrious preaching career of over fifty years he served numerous congregations in the brotherhood. He was in Hot Springs, Arkansas for four years; Conway, Arkansas for one years; Johnson Street church in Greenville, Texas for four years and the Walnut Street church in Texarkana, Texas for many many years.

Howard was a pioneer in radio broadcasting. He preached continuously on the radio for 46 years. He was the founder of the International Gospel Hour broadcast that continues to this day. He conducted gospel meetings in twenty different states of the Union, and baptized more than 8000 people in his lifetime. He authored thirteen books and over fifty tracts. He served as owner of Howard's Jewelers, and was for a time President of the Central Printers and Publishers Company. He also served as president of Howard Foundations, Inc.

Brother Howard passed from this life September 28, 2000 in Texarkana, Texas. His remains were removed to the family cemetery in Rocky Branch Community north of West Monroe, Louisiana to await the coming of the Lord.

-Scott Harp

-Source: Preachers Of Today, Vol. 5, page 134.

Verna Elisha Howard September 29, 1911 - September 28, 2000


A voice known and recognized - "This is V. E. Howard ... Are You Listening," has been stilled. Brother Howard passed away one day prior to his 89th birthday in Texarkana, TX.

I worked with V. E. Howard for many years as Field Representative, Editor, Assistant Director, Speaker, and General Manager of the International Gospel Hour. During my association it was soon learned he was a valiant and energetic individual in addition to being a successful businessman. He was a very able speaker, preacher, and gifted writer. It has been said "the search for truth is the noblest occupation of man, its publication a duty."

V. E. authored 18 books and many, many Bible tracts, wrote numerous church songs and published a hymnal. He was the speaker on International Gospel Hour which aired for 60 years and is the longest continuous broadcast in radio history. At the advice of his doctors in 1995 V. E. turned the Gospel Hour over to the West Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, TN with Winford Claiborne as the speaker.

V. E. Howard knew and taught this life in the era of time is a the next "preparation room for and infinitely greater era of eternity." To be faithful here is to mean a "crown of life" hereafter that will never fade. (Revelation 2:lO.) "For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens." (2 Corinthians 5:l.) Death, to the Christian, is a grand step into life with God in heaven. It is the opportunity to exchange corruption for incorruption, mortality for immortality, and death for life.

Funeral services were held at the Walnut St. Church of Christ in Texarkana, Monday, October 2, at 10:00. Additional services were held at the Rocky Branch Church of Christ in Farmerville, Louisiana, Monday, October 2, at 4:30.

During my years with V. E. valuable lessons were learned and treasured to help me in the continuing ministry of the International Gospel Hour. Hundreds of thousands will never forget his words, "Are You Listening." His influence will continue to live on. Those wishing to memorialize V. E. Howard may make contributions to International Gospel Hour, P. 0. Box 118, Fayetteville, TN 37334. --- W. E. Skipper, General Manager International Gospel Hour


After 89 years, save one day, the Lord took our beloved V. E. Howard home to his eternal reward. He rests from his labors, and his works do follow him.

It wasn't long after I was converted in 1964 until I heard the name "V.E." spoken as among the most notable preachers in the churches of Christ. When I enrolled in Freed-Hardeman College in 1967, I immediately learned that V. E. was on the college board of directors, and all the preacher boys were preaching his sermons from "What Is The Church of Christ," Volumes 1 and 2.

We looked forward to hearing him speak on the Annual Bible Lectureship and hearing him on the International Gospel Hour radio program. He was the "dean of radio preachers." He had a special ability to communicate the Gospel via radio, which brought forth much fruit. His "trademark" that was so famous, "Are you listening?", suggested his deep concern that his audience understood and heeded the messages he
felt were absolutely vital to their souls. He was more interested that his listeners were enlightened on God's Will than that he be eloquent or simply have a popular program.

His sermon on "What Is The Church of Christ?" brought what is believed to be the largest response ever given a religious broadcast in radio history. More than 75,000 free copies of this sermon were mailed. He received during his years of radio preaching, letters from every state in the union and several foreign countries.

V. E. was also an effective local preacher and conductor of Gospel meetings. Thousands were baptized as a result of his faithful persuasive style of preaching. God only knows how many souls will be in heaven because of his life's work. V. E. spoke on every Christian College Lectureship and received many recognitions for his service to the church.

V. E.'s love of the Word was expressed through his love of singing and his ability to write songs for the church. He published a songbook entitled "Gospel Songs and Hymns," with 870 songs. Out new songbooks contain 14 of his songs.

V. E. wrote many Bible tracts that are still being used here at Walnut Street in our evangelistic outreach. He will also be remembered as a dedicated family man and elder of this congregation, and organizer
and M.C. of the annual Gospel Hour Sing Song that was conducted here the first Friday night in December for several years. Thousands have attended this songfest, and through it and the International Gospel Hour and V. E.'s brotherhood-wide influence, he brought great glory to God and spotlighted the Walnut Street Church of Christ.

It was my unique privilege as a preacher to minister to V. E. during his declining health while he was homebound, in the hospital and special care for the last five years. I will cherish the times we shared in prayer, and the opportunity I had to encourage a great Gospel preacher who pioneered a significant evangelistic ministry in the church for over 60 years.

-John Pigg, an evangelist at Walnut Street Church of Christ Texarkana, Texas His Family


V. E. Howard and Ruth Jackson were married December 20, 1931. She preceded him in death a short time. They had three children. I well recall that soon after our son Timothy died at age 26 in 1974, brother Howard sent my Margie and me a consoling message accompanied by a $50.00 check.

When I think of the able preacher of the gospel, V. E. Howard, I am reminded of what Paul, Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy wrote "To the church of the Thessalonians ..." (1 Thessalonians 1: 1) when they wrote, "But as we were allowed of God to put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God which trieth our hearts." (1 Thessalonians 2:4.) I believe brother Howard felt the same way!

-Basil Overton, The World Evangelist - December 2000, page 19.

Directions To The Grave Of V. E. Howard

V.E. Howard is buried in Rocky Branch Cemetery. Take Hwy 143 North Of West Monroe. Pass the Whites Ferry Church of Christ and travel about 13 mile north and enter the Rocky Branch community. The cemetery will be on the left, across from Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Enter the cemetery and head north of the Entrance sign, and head toward the rear of the cemetery. The Howard plot is toward the rear. See pictures below for a better perspective. Also buried in this cemetery are other members of the Howard family including V.E.'s younger brother Alton Howard who passed away in 2006.

GPS Coordinates
N32º 40.871' x W092º 12.201'
Grave Facing East
Accuracy to 23ft.

Rocky Branch Cemetery
10256 Hwy. 143 N.
Rocky Branch, Louisiana

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