Betty Jane McGinnis Faust, 88, died March 13, 2017, at her home in Helena.

Betty Jane McGinnis Faust, 88, died March 13, 2017, at her home in Helena.

She was born June 7, 1928, to Frank and Annie McGinnis of Rondo. She graduated from T.A. Futrell High School in Marianna and earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Arkansas in 1950, where she was a member of Chi Omega and Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

After graduation, she married Thomas Ewart Faust of West Helena and moved to his hometown in 1950. Over more than six decades in the Helena-West Helena community, Betty was active as a member of First Presbyterian Church of Helena, Pacaha Club, Helena Junior Auxiliary, Phillips County Cancer Society, the Chamber of Commerce and Phillips County Historical Society.

True to her McGinnis heritage, no person was a stranger to Betty. She shared her family’s ability to strike up a conversation with anyone and a love of storytelling. Every long-distance phone call began with “this is Betty Faust from Helena, Arkansas,” and ended only after the exchange of personal anecdotes. She loved being surrounded by friends and family and hosted many large parties and gatherings in the spacious home she and Tom shared.

A lifelong learner and supporter of education, Betty traveled to Memphis to participate in discussion groups at Rhodes College for many years. She was an active member of parent-teacher organizations at her children’s schools and attended numerous school functions. As a community volunteer and leader, she gave enthusiasm, intelligence, compassion, organizational skills and countless hours to making her world a better place for all.

In 1983, Betty chaired the community celebration honoring the 150th anniversary of the founding of Helena, for which she was named Citizen of the Year by the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce. A descendant of a pre-Civil War Phillips County family, she enjoyed studying the history of the Delta and family genealogy. She was the author of numerous articles in the Phillips County Historical Quarterly and the text of many of the historical markers around Helena, and she served as a tour guide for countless school groups and visitors to the area. For her community service, she was honored by the Phillips County Bar Association with their Liberty Bell Award.

As a supporter of the arts, Betty served as a member of the Warfield Concert Committee for more than 25 years, helping bring free performances by world-renowned artists to residents of Helena and surrounding communities. She was also a founding board member of the Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and served as its president from 1994 to 1996.

A dedicated churchgoer, Betty served as a deacon and elder at First Presbyterian Church in Helena. She also served as a member of the Committee on Ministry and Moderator of the Presbytery of Arkansas and served for 15 years on the Committee on Women’s Concerns for the Presbyterian Church (USA). She was a trustee of Arkansas College in Batesville (now Lyon College).

She is preceded in death by her parents and brother, Dr. Max McGinnis.

She leaves her husband of 66 years and their four children, Jane (Alan) Belsches of Dothan, Alabama, Carol Faust of Helena-West Helena, Tom Faust Jr. (Winnie) of Wellesley, Massachusetts and Kate (Bill) Franks of Little Rock; grandchildren, Dr. Sara (Justin) Green of Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Adam (Philippa) Belsches of Crozet, Virginia, Dr. Ted Belsches of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Travis Faust of Baltimore, Maryland, Luke Faust of Boston, Massachusetts, Ethan and Diana Faust of Wellesley, Thomas and Libby Franks of Little Rock, and four great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank Sandra Bridget, Johnnie Mae Carter, Vera Jones and Marie Seats and for the loving care they provided during Betty’s final years with Alzheimer’s disease. They would also like to thank Patients’ Choice Hospice, particularly Judy Miller, RN, Joyce Mitchell and Cecilia Smith, RN, and Drs. James Pillow and Pat Bell.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, at First Presbyterian Church, followed by a reception in the fellowship hall. The church is located at 629 Porter Street in Helena. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 629 Porter St., Helena, AR 72342; The Warfield Concert Series Foundation, PO Box 81, Helena, AR 72342; or Grace Community Food Pantry, 520 Walnut Street, Helena, AR 72342.

Services will be directed by Roller-Citizens Funeral Home, West Helena, (870) 572-2571. The online guestbook may be signed at