Howard Douglas Nail

May 13, 1935 ~ December 12, 2018 (age 83)

Howard Douglas Nail died peacefully at his home in Greensboro, Georgia on December 12, 2018 surrounded by family.  He was born in Goodwater, Alabama on May 13, 1935, son of Henry Frank and Levis Shaw Nail. He attended Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, from which he received his high school diploma and an Associate in Science degree.  At Marion, he developed the discipline and dedication to duty and honor that helped shape and define the balance of his 83 years.  After Marion, Howard attended Auburn University until he met and married the love of his life, Janet Adams of Sylacauga, Alabama, on April 2, 1955.

After marrying in 1955, Howard lived with Janet and his family in Sylacauga, Alabama, working several jobs before being hired by Norfolk Southern Railway in November 1961.  He spent the better part of the next forty years as a trainman with Norfolk Southern. Being a railroad man also defined Howard’s life.  

In 1965, Howard moved his family to Columbus, Georgia so he could work better and higher paying railroad routes or “jobs.”  This ambition to provide for his family and, in so doing, put his children in a position of greater opportunity than he thought he had was another core facet of Howard’s personality.

Howard’s family was his greatest joy; love of family was yet another core principle of Howard’s makeup.  He was lovingly and totally devoted to Janet for sixty-three years.  As a father, he was a strong presence in the home, yet with a kind and sweet heart.  He adored his grandchildren and great granddaughter.  He strove to remain connected to his own brothers and sisters and their families, being his nieces’ and nephews’ beloved “Uncle Howard.”  In return, Howard’s family adored and treasured him.

Howard also loved people; he never met a stranger.  His outlook was positive and his personality naturally infectious.  He would talk to anyone who would listen about his family and other topics of import to him, but also was genuinely interested in what they had to say.  Janet characterized his visits around the neighborhood as “spreading his sunshine.”

In retirement, Howard and Janet loved to travel.  They took cruises to many destinations.  Along with Janet, he traveled all over the USA and to many other destinations around the world, including Canada, England, Scotland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.  Howard and Janet also traveled frequently to the Caribbean and other beach destinations.  He loved getting to the beach early and would spend the entire day there.

Howard was committed to God through Christ, loving Him with all his heart, soul and mind and truly loving others as he loved himself.  After retirement, Howard and Janet relocated to Greensboro, Georgia where they were members of Lake Oconee Campus of LakePoint Community Church.  Along with Janet, he loved being a “greeter” at LakePoint Community Church’s Sunday morning service. 

Howard was preceded in death by his two sisters, Frances and Margaret, and two of his three brothers, Harry and Richard (‘Babe”).  Survivors are his beloved wife of sixty-three years, Janet, daughter Rhonda (Lee) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son Doug (Sally) of Atlanta, Georgia, and brother Preston (Rebecca) of Calera, Alabama.  Surviving grandchildren are Parker Manis, Nathan Manis (Antoinette), Emily Johnstone (Kyle) and Sam Nail, and surviving great granddaughter is Skyi Johnstone.

The family wishes to express deep gratitude for the kind care provided by Regency SouthernCare Hospice of Athens, Georgia and all the wonderful caregivers from ResCare in Greensboro, Georgia who lovingly attended to Howard.  

A memorial service will be held at LakePoint Community Church, 940 Harmony Road, Eatonton, Georgia 31024, at 11:00 a.m. on January 11, 2019.  A reception will be held at LakePoint Community Church after the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to LakePoint Community Church at 940 Harmony Road, Eatonton, Georgia 31024, the Alzheimer’s Association at 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Floor 17, Chicago, Illinois 60601, or to a charity of your choice.  McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at to sign the online guest register. 


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