Irene Jackie Combs

Born in Rockcastle County, Kentucky on February 15, 1938

Departed on June 16, 2019 and resided in Nashville, Tennessee

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Irene Jackie Combs was born in Rock Castle County, Kentucky on February 15, 1938. She lived in Dayton, Ohio for many years until moving to Apopka, Florida in 1974. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Kentucky University and her Master’s Degree from the University of Central Florida. She was a lifelong educator. Even after she retired from teaching, she was only a phone call away from her students—and those “students” included those she had in the classroom as well as everyone who looked to her for advice and encouragement along the way.
She treasured her family. She raised two wonderful sons, Mark and Frank, who were her pride and joy. She worked tirelessly as a single mom to raise them—and her hard-work ethic lives on in both of her boys. But more importantly, her open heart and giving spirit live on in them. She got such joy from her boys and their families: Mark, Lisa, Madison, Gunnar, Brady and Jack—and Frank, Kelli, Logan, Hunter, Trent, Hope, Gabriel, Blakely and Josie.
One of the biggest blessings of her life was when Troy Combs walked into her life. The two former high school sweethearts fell in love and spent the next 32 years living the adventure of that love—including a few stops at Goodwill Stores and Cracker Barrels. To see the two of them together was to know for sure what love—and maybe patience—looks like. Thanks to Troy, Denise, Colin, Nicole and Austin, and Steve, Tammy, Lindsey, Justin, Derek, Taylor, Dalton, Josh, Kim, Alexis, Elizabeth, Bryson, Kaysen and Easton became part of the family.
Jackie was a Christian who lived her life as the hand and feet of her Savior. And that was more than just opening conversations with, “Honey, are you a Christian?” She lived out Christ’s call to help one another. Whatever she had, she shared. You were hungry—she fed you. You needed a job—she started making phone calls. You needed someone to remind you that you mattered—she was there. And always pointed to Jesus as the author of her love. When she got to heaven on Sunday, she probably told Jesus, “Well, if they haven’t heard about You, it wasn’t because of me.” There may be many mysteries in this life, but where Jackie is right now is not one of them.
To think about Jackie is to think about love. She loved strong—the kind of love that holds on tight and doesn’t let go. Ever. Ask anyone who knew her and they will tell you that. And as hard as it is to say goodbye to her now, we know she is safe in the arms of Jesus—and that she will be waiting for us on the other side. Possibly even with something she found for us at the Goodwill Store in heaven.
“And now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Love. Immeasurable and eternal. Until we see you again, Jackie, we will keep the love going.

A Celebration of Life Service will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the Jamison Theater at the Factory in Franklin, TN, 230 Franklin Road, Franklin, TN.

45 Comments to Irene Jackie Combs

  1. Jill Biehl
    June 18, 2019 4:27 pm

    So sorry to hear of our loss. She was always so friendly and helpful during the days of “Fanfare”.

  2. Rosemary Steinbach
    June 18, 2019 5:21 pm

    Whether you were blessed to know her personally, or just to know of her, what you knew is that she was an amazing mom, mentor and woman. Save us all a spot at the table, sweet Irene.

  3. Janet Hill
    June 18, 2019 5:35 pm

    Sorry to hear about Aunt Irene. thoughts and prayers to the family and friends.
    she was a wonderful and great woman. love to all.

  4. Joyce Dotson
    June 18, 2019 5:39 pm

    As I was reading this, reminiscing about how she loved “800 lb Jesus “ and thinking of how she is Home with no pain, no suffering and Whole again in His arms. Prayers for peace and comfort

  5. Vicki Free
    June 18, 2019 5:43 pm

    My love to you always. Thank you for caring.

  6. Laurie Walker Stone
    June 18, 2019 6:41 pm

    Prayers for your families in the loss of your mother. Frank and Mark you both resemble her. God bless and hold you both close.

  7. Brenda Koroluk- Haddix
    June 18, 2019 7:03 pm

    So sorry for your loss…Praying for you and family….

  8. Melinda S. Fox
    June 18, 2019 7:03 pm

    GOD bless Jackie and her family, she was always so invested in her family and the fans that she helped care for. Prayers go out to the whole family!

  9. Jerrie Harris
    June 18, 2019 7:03 pm

    Thoughts and prayers for her entire family. Thank you for sharing your life and live with all who met you. Rest easy, Ms. Jackie!🌹

  10. Marianne (Dayton Ohio)
    June 18, 2019 7:03 pm

    You will always live in our heart’s

  11. Viola
    June 18, 2019 7:12 pm

    Sorry for your loss prayers for all of you so glad you know you will see her again

  12. Sandra Elkins
    June 18, 2019 7:29 pm

    So very sorry for the loss of your mother, sending prayers for the family, may you find comfort and peace during this time

  13. Suzanne Hale
    June 18, 2019 7:39 pm

    What a remarkable legacy! I would have been blessed to have known her! May you be comforted by her love eternal.

  14. Debbie Paduch
    June 18, 2019 7:44 pm

    So sorry to read about the loss of your Mom. She sounds like a wonderful woman that was loved by many. Prayers being sent to all who loved her.

  15. SusieQ Beltran
    June 18, 2019 8:00 pm

    The first time I met Ms Miller,,,my husband Ricardo and I were going to be married…We were broke,,she said that’s ok honey I’ll make the rehearsal dinner…Even though it wasn’t meant to be,,,just her Willingness to stand up For Us and Always to listen and provide Gods Wisdom….You’ve left Footprints on our Family’s Heart…..

  16. Claudia mukai
    June 18, 2019 8:17 pm

    I am so glad I had a chance to tell her what she meant to me. She taught me hospitality and how to treat a guest in your home. My motorhome broke down and she welcomed into her home. I remember how she welcomed my two teacup Yorkies My daughter kari got bored while everyone was sleeping and dyed my dog green. Yes I said dyed using food coloring from her kitchen. In the morning we looked at each other when angel walked out of bedroom green and said what!!! Time for me to move on. We just laughed and I think kari is really bored.

  17. Laura DiGilio
    June 18, 2019 8:29 pm

    Dearest Mark, Lisa, Madison, Gunnar and entire family, We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful mother / grandmother Jackie. We never had the pleasure of meeting her, however we look forward to meeting her in His kingdom one day. With the description above, you couldn’t miss the fact that she was a loyal, faithful, compassionate, generous, strong, wise, honorable…and lovely woman of God. A gift to all… good and faithful servant. Our prayers of peace and comfort for the entire family.
    With our deepest and most heartfelt condolences,
    Tim McCanna and Laura DiGilio

  18. Dena S Smith
    June 18, 2019 8:35 pm

    Jackie was precious! Every time I was with her She made me feel special, almost unique, like my visits, though few they were, mattered.
    I know, I was not more special than anyone else was to her, but, I believe we were all that special to her. She had a true gift of loving and teaching life lessons, both practical and spiritual. I can only hope, even at this point in life, to be that kind of person. Until we meet again dear lady!
    For Jackies family, I am so sorry that you will not have her here and I know God is with you to bring comfort.

  19. Don miller
    June 18, 2019 8:57 pm

    So sorry , only met her one time! She was very sweet. Rest In Peace aunt Irene

  20. Barbara Shelley
    June 18, 2019 9:50 pm

    An amazing tribute for an amazing woman. She had a very special way of making you feel loved and valued and I will forever be grateful that I had the pleasure of knowing her. Heaven has gained another Angel and I’m sure she is being told…. ” Well done my faithful servant , your work on Earth is done. ❤️

  21. Cheryl Harper
    June 18, 2019 10:34 pm

    Praying for your families and understanding in God’s perfect plan for each of us. His timing is always right. May the Holy Spirit touch each of you with his comfort and love.

  22. Annette Wood
    June 18, 2019 10:44 pm

    As much as it pains us to lose you, we know we will see you again. Thank you for your kindness, friendship and years of blessings. So many memories. Love you and miss you my sweet and loving friend. God’s arms around your family now and in the future. May their memories continue to comfort them. <3

  23. Jeffrey Little
    June 18, 2019 10:51 pm

    I will always remember my Aunt Jackie as one of the nicest and most generous people you could ever meet. Family gatherings will not be the same without her.

  24. Joyce Mynio
    June 18, 2019 10:54 pm

    Thank you for many memories during years of fan fairs and fan club functions always enjoyed our conversations rest in peace dear sweet lady. My condolences to the family.

  25. Beth Phillips
    June 18, 2019 11:13 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Miss Jackie was a very special lady. I went to her ranch a few times for the fan club party at Fan Fair. What a legacy she has left. I will be praying for your family.

  26. Liz Johnson Klein
    June 18, 2019 11:35 pm

    Troy, Mark, Lisa, Frank, Kelli and your families, my deepest sympathy for the loss of this beautiful matriarch of your family. I first met Jackie as a teenage girl at the Viars family reunion in Berea, KY and learned about her love of education, life and the Lord from first my grandmother Gladys Johnson who was Jackie’s Aunt and from my own Mother who helped deliver Frank when he was born. We visited Uncle Aden, Aunt Mary, Cousin Jackie and her new husband Troy one summer in Nashville. She was such a gracious hostess as was Uncle Aden an Aunt Mary we’re host and hostess. I recall staying up late with my dad, Lloyd and Jackie going over very old pictures my grandmother had and hearing stories of how my dad and his brothers and Jackie and her sisters were often at each other’s homes hanging out as cousins. I heard wonderful stories of their youth. Jackie was beautiful inside an out, gentle, loving, compassionate, and always willing to share both her knowledge of the world and our great Creator. I enjoyed our time visiting an I always enjoyed our times at family reunions. I will always think of her with great admiration, raising two children while attending college isn’t an easy feat, but she did it and with great perseverance. She will be greatly missed by everyone she ever touch on this earth. I’m sure she’s in heaven enjoying her well-earned rest and being with those who’ve gone before, we will see her again, but until that day we can find comfort in knowing she watching over those she loved. My prayers of peace and comfort to all she knew and loved.

  27. Tammy Ebert
    June 18, 2019 11:50 pm

    My deepest condolences to Miss Jackie’s family and friends. I enjoyed the many conversations I had with her at fan club events and concerts. She was a sweet soul and will be deeply missed. RIP Miss Jackie.

  28. Jamie Bullens
    June 19, 2019 12:17 am

    Thoughts and prayers for the loss of Irene and the same for boys. My father (Boyd Bullens) grew up with Irene and her sisters. When dad passed, they were my ties to the Bullens-Viars history.

    Jamie & Linda Bullens (Dayton, Ohio)

  29. Amy Hansen
    June 19, 2019 3:50 am

    So very sorry to hear of Jackie’s passing. She was one of the nicest, most genuine people I had ever met. Really enjoyed talking to her and being in her presence. She truly had the light. God bless your families Mark and Frank. Thoughts and prayers with you in this difficult time.

  30. Shirley Reichard Bowser
    June 19, 2019 3:54 am

    What a wonderful family. We met Uncle Earl at the bank in Dayton, Ohio and the first time he come in with a Sawyer Brown hat on I told him we were in Sawyer Brown’s Fan club. he said he was his Uncle. He was such a tease I didn’t know if he was telling the truth. Then when the show was in Dayton they gave me and my husband tickets to the show.. Then when we went to the Fan Club Parties at Jackie’s house every year, we met the rest of the family. I sure do miss them. Earl always watched for us and got us a good parking place. He and his wife were so nice. That was over 20 years ago. Then just 20 years ago my husband retired and we moved to Lebanon and then we got too old to go out at night. Miss you all and I have seen Mark on the computer or TV lately and made me so happy. I’ve lost my husband and I am not well. You have my heartfelt condolences for the loss of Jackie. Shirley Reichard Bowser (formerly Dayton, O) and now Lebanon, Tenn.

  31. Judy Flanagan
    June 19, 2019 9:50 am

    Condolences on the passing of Jackie. I know the important roles she played as she guided Mark and Frank to become the men they are today. She will be missed by many, especially her wonderful sons. May God Be With Each of you in the days and times ahead without Jackie at the helm.

  32. Aaron & Penny Sutton
    June 19, 2019 12:45 pm

    Deepest condolences to your family in the loss of your wonderful Mother and Grandmother, she was without a doubt one of the sweetest, kindest people we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We will never forget on an unexpected visit with Frank & Mark many years ago, she welcomed us into her home and treated us like we really were a part of her family, she had that “something special” about her and her legacy lives on in her Boys, a job very well done Ms. Jackie, may you rejoice in the arms of Jesus.

  33. Julie Arcand
    June 19, 2019 3:15 pm

    My sympathy to you and your family, may the good Lord watch over you and help you through the rough days ahead. God Bless You All.

  34. Rosalie Revelle
    June 19, 2019 5:59 pm

    I knew her as Mrs. Miller, she was our algebra teacher at Ocoee Jr High in Ocoee Fl. She was the most caring and loving lady, she truly cared about every student even if they weren’t in her class. She’ll be truly missed by all who knew her.

  35. Cyndi Johnson Wise
    June 19, 2019 6:47 pm

    She was such a great lady and teacher. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  36. Debby Combs Chambers
    June 19, 2019 9:44 pm

    Jackie was a wonderful woman. So nice to talk with her at Fanfair. She found out my Dad was from Kentucky and I was a Combs and she treated me like family. I will never forget Jackie seating me with the family when I came to the Fan Club breakfast for the first time. What a special lady. Rest in peace Jackie. All my love to the rest of the family.

  37. Von Boggs
    June 19, 2019 10:34 pm

    Irene and I met at Eastern Ky University in Early 1960’s. We were roommates and immediately she was the most caring person, I ever met. She had 2 young boys at that time, Frank & Mark. Her Mom & Dad and the boys would usually pick her up on Friday and take her home for week-end. If the two of us did spend a week-end at school, I knew for sure that I was going to church with her that Sunday. She taught me so much about praying and trusting the Lord.
    We never had an ill word, only kindness and respect for each other. I will only remember her as one of the kindest, generous, loving person, I was fortunate enough to have in my life.
    Sorry I cannot attend on Thursday but I will be at her Celebration of Life. Sending my Love and Prayers to Troy, Frank, Mark, and all the family. Know that I along with my family are also, Heartbroken.

  38. Sheri Cobia
    June 20, 2019 2:06 am

    Mrs Miller as I knew her was the best teacher anyone could have. She was so caring, patient , loving, funny, and most of all god loving woman. She taught me more in two years at Ocoee Jr High school, than I learned my 12 years of regular school, maybe even college too!! Every once in a while we would get her trying to solve the rubix cube , which she did, and no math for that hour! I remember she had her son and his band Sawyer Brown perform at our stadium at Ocoee Jr High school, was my first concert! She was so proud and happy they were performing at the school. You can go on and on about how wonderful Mrs Miller was. I never knew her name was Jackie, so she is still teaching me!! I have the utmost respect and love for this wonderful woman! Heaven is lucky to have her. RIP Mrs Miller! You are very much loved and missed!!

  39. John Lenz
    June 20, 2019 7:44 am

    She was an incredible teacher. She was my pre-algebra teacher. As a teen, I always wore concert shirts from various Heavy Metal groups. She would always tease me and say I should listen to more country, like Sawyer Brown!! I also liked country music too, but didn’t let on because I loved the back and forth with her. I was having problems understanding the Algebra and no matter what she showed me, I just didn’t grasp it. She said if I went to watch Mark at a concert with her, it would open my mind and allow me to learn the Algebra. I did go to a Sawyer Brown concert with her. Of course they did a great show. I got an A in her class, I guess for my effort, haha. She will always hold a special place in my heart. I always loved her and respected her. I won’t ever forget her. Rest in piece dear lady. I know you’re with God.

  40. Dayna Collison
    June 20, 2019 9:19 am

    Mrs. Miller was my algebra teacher at Ocoee Jr. High. I loved her class even though I hated math. She always tried to make it interesting and funny. She cared so much about her students even outside the classroom. Everybody just loved her. What a wonderful lady! I know she will be deeply missed.

  41. Betsy Cox Carter
    June 21, 2019 11:28 pm

    Mark, Frank and both of your families- so very sorry fir your loss.

  42. Angie Wong-Hinton
    June 24, 2019 2:40 am

    She was Always a favorite of my Mother, Joan Howard Burnside. I still remember my Grandmother Mabel BULLENS Howard calling me in Arizona, reminding me to tune in and catch Sawyer Brown Band on Star Search. I watched them Win!!! When the band played a concert in Phx. I called Her and She made sure I had backstage access to HUG my cuz Mark. Even tho, it was always Frank, I found adorable at those long ago Family Reunions. Beauty runs in the family. I will always have my memories of how sweet your Mother was, when I would call and ask about V.I.P passes for AZ Concert appearances. GOD BLESS YOUR BROKEN HEARTS. Love Joanie and Angela

  43. Angie Wong-Hinton
    June 24, 2019 2:46 am

    She was Always a favorite of my Mother, Joan Howard Burnside. I still remember my Grandmother Mabel BULLENS Howard calling me in Arizona, reminding me to tune in and catch Sawyer Brown Band on Star Search. I watched them Win!!! When the band played a concert in Phx. I called Cuz Irene, and She made sure I had backstage access to HUG my cuz Mark. Even tho, it was always Frank, I found adorable at those long ago Family Reunions. Beauty runs in that family!. I will always have my memories of how sweet your Mother was, when I would call and ask about V.I.P passes for AZ Concert appearances. GOD BLESS YOUR BROKEN HEARTS. Love, Joanie and Angela

  44. Christy Pickens (Oakley)-Sevierville, TN
    June 30, 2019 10:19 am

    Miller/Combs Family,
    I am so sorry about your loss. Jackie was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I first met Jackie and your wonderful family at the age of 5, which was 33 years ago, and I have never met such an amazing and caring family. Please know that you all are in my thoughts and Prayers. I know your hearts are broken, but I know you have the peace of knowing she is in Heaven watching over all of you.

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