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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — EPOF Joshua Devonte Howard, 18, Newport News, was a gift from God on Aug. 29, 1995, born to his parents, Amanda Bell-White of Elizabethtown, North Carolina, and Ernest Howard of Cincinatti, Ohio, and was very loved by all his family. He passed away Thursday, July 3, 2014. Joshua brought joy to the lives of his grandparents, Paul Layton and the late Cynthia Layton of Council, North Carolina, in whose home he was raised, and Schuyler Bell and wife, Elaine, of Lancaster, South Carolina. Joshua was an Eagle Scout, loved baseball, music and was an honor student. He never met a stranger. He graduated form East Bladen High School in 2013 and went on to join the Navy, following in the footsteps of his "Pa Perry" and was stationed in Newport News. He touched the hearts of many with his smile, giving heart, determination and perseverance against all odds. Joshua is survived by his mother, Amanda Bell and stepfather, Leon White (Daddy), both of Elizabethtown; father, Ernest Howard of Cincinatti; sister, Cheyenne Daniels of Elizabethtown; grandparents, Paul Layton and the late Cynthia Layton of Council, Ava Lee and Ronnie Howard of Dodge City, Kansas; great-grandparents, Perry Robertson and the late Betty Robertson of Mount Airy and the late Clarence and Alice Pearl Layton of Elizabethtown; aunts and uncles, Lara and Theodore Johnson of White Lake, North Carolina, Allison and Bobby Hardin of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Johnathan Layton and family of Clinton, North Carolina, and Jason and Kimberly Layton and family of Raleigh, North Carolina; a very special great-aunt and uncle, Sheree and Steve Barnard of Mount Airy; cousins, Zachary and Brooke Johnson of White Lake, Chad and Amanda Barnard and family of Mount Airy, Justin and Tabitha Barnard and family of Mount Airy; his "adopted" family, the "Maultsbys" of Elizabethtown; and lots of special family and friends. He will truly be missed by all. Visitation will be Monday, July 7, 2014, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bladen Gaskins Funeral Home in Elizabethtown. Funeral services will be Tuesday, July 8, 2014, ,at 2 p.m. at Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church in Councili followed by a burial in church cemetery.
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