Earl is a lifetime resident of Mississippi County and a 1959 graduate of Blytheville High School. He married Martha Jo Howard in 1960 and spent three years with the Blytheville Police Department before beginning his life's work in funeral service. He is a 1966 graduate of John A. Gupton College in Nashville, Tennessee, where he served as President of his class. Earl is a licensed embalmer, funeral director, and certified eye enucleator. He is National Board certified and holds licenses in Arkansas and Missouri. He served many years on the Arkansas Board of Burial Associations and is a current Board Member for the Great River Medical Center in Blytheville and Osceola. Earl has given his life to funeral service and the families he has served.
Martha Jo Smith
Born in Leachville, Martha Jo is the granddaughter of our founder, the late E. M. Howard, and the daughter of the late Buddy and Nola Howard. A lifelong Mississippi County resident, she is a 1960 graduate of Blytheville High School and the wife of Earl Smith since 1960. Funeral service is the only life she has ever known. Martha Jo holds an Arkansas Funeral Directors License an Arkansas Insurance License and is our most experienced pre-arrangement counselor. She and Earl have two sons, Brian who lives in Ft. Smith, and Greg who has been with the company since 1983. They also have three grandchildren, Andy, Lindsey, and Matt.
Greg is a fourth generation embalmer and funeral director. He has spent his entire life in funeral service. A 1982 graduate of Leachville High School he married Melinda Laffoon in 1984. Greg is a 1985 Honor Graduate of the Mid-America College of Mortuary Science in Jeffersonville, Indiana and is National Board certified holding embalmers and funeral directors licenses in Arkansas and Missouri. Greg also holds an Arkansas Insurance License and is the longest tenured Deputy for the Mississippi County Coroner's Office, having served in that capacity for over 30 years. Greg and his wife, Melinda, have two children; Lindsey, living in Tyler, Texas, and Matt, an airline transport rated corporate pilot living in Jonesboro.
Rev. Mark Wheeler
Mark is a native of Kennett, Missouri and has been with us since 1996. A 1982 graduate of Kennett High School, Mark has become vital to our company and community. He holds an Arkansas Funeral Directors License, and has served as Deputy Coroner for the Mississippi County Coroner's Office since 2002. He is married to Vanessa Watts Wheeler and they have 2 sons, Eric and Elijah.
Doris is the newest member of our staff. She joined the Howard Funeral Service family in the summer of 2016 after retiring from the Monette and Buffalo Island Central School Districts. Doris and her husband, Mike, are lifelong Leachville residents and have two grown daughters, Erin and Emily, and two grandsons, Jack and Liam.
Brenda Laffoon Carmichael
Brenda is a lifelong Leachville area resident and has been with us since 2009. She serves as our visitation hostess at the Leachville and Manila locations and was formerly employed by the Monette Nursing Center. Though Brenda has only been with the funeral home for a short time, she has been family for over 30 years, she is Greg's mother-in-law. She will also be working in our pre-arrangement program. Brenda and her husband, Kenny, live in Monette.
Born in Newport, James is a 1982 graduate of Weiner High School and a 1989 graduate of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy. He served many years with the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department and has been with the Manila Police Department since 2006. James also serves as a deputy for the Mississippi County Coroner's office. He and his wife, Karen, are proud to call Manila home.