Local businessman, consultant, professor, husband, and father, Bernie Earl “B.J.” Howard II, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 11 from complications related to COVID-19. He was 57 years old.
Mr. Howard was born on Dec. 25, 1962 in Leesburg, Florida. After many years in Florida, he moved to Middle Tennessee where he was corporately employed before co-founding The Symphony Group where he functioned as co-founder and CEO.
Business consulting became an avenue in which Mr. Howard positively impacted many organizations, including individual leaders and owners of these firms. He also invested his life heavily in the community by serving on many boards including the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee and as Chairman of the Board of Williamson College located in Franklin. In addition, he loved serving in his local church, LifePoint Church, in Smyrna, Tennessee.
One of B.J.’s students at Williamson College remarked, “I will forever be grateful for the 5 short weeks I got to learn from him in a class on finance - that actually taught me just as much about life and God as it did about business. What an impact he had for the Kingdom in his life!”
A prominent business leader shared, “There is only a handful of people in my life, outside of my family, who I felt really cared for me. BJ was one of those. I think he made everyone he knew feel that way. He had a servant's heart and was so full of wisdom.”
Christine Howard was the love of his life. Mr. Howard often commented that “God has blessed me beyond measure with a wife like Christine!”
Mr. Howard is survived by his wife, Christine (Kleinhans) Howard; mother, Louise (Tim) Beverly of Ocala, Florida; father, Bernie (Debbie) Howard of Auburndale, Florida; brother, Kevin Howard of Ocala, Florida; son, Christopher Howard of Cape Canaveral, Florida; daughter, Brittany (Dave) Fleischmann of Gaylord, Michigan; stepsons, Andrew Barnett of Franklin, Tennessee, Will Barnett of Hot Springs, North Carolina, and Caleb Barnett of Mars Hill, North Carolina; grandson, Brian Howard of Grayling, Michigan; one nephew and two nieces.
The family will have a private graveside service. All others are invited to a Celebration of Life service on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. at LifePoint Church, 506 Legacy Drive, Smyrna, TN. A greeting time will begin at noon. Social distancing protocols will be in place and masks will be required until seated.
In lieu of flowers memorial gifts can be made to the B.J. Howard Scholarship Fund at Williamson College, 274 Mallory Station Road, Franklin, TN 37067 or by giving online at https://williamsoncc.edu/giving/