Betty Jean Browning Newburn was born on December 30, 1938, to James Browning and Lucy Smith Beard. She accepted Christ at a young age and was baptized at Ebenezer Baptist Church. She attended Peake High School.
In the early ’60s on Christmas Day, she married her high school sweetheart, James Sylvester Newburn. Their union was blessed with twin sons and two daughters. She united with Mt. Morriah Baptist Church where she served as church mother and with the Missionary Society.
In 1976, Rev. Newburn accepted his first pastoral assignment at Union Grove Baptist Church in Bluff City until 1985. She dutifully fulfilled her role as a helpmate and First Lady. In 1986, she served as First Lady of Greater St. Luke Baptist Church in Fulton.
Betty retired from Henderson State University and was a former employee of Levi Strauss Manufacturing and the CADC. She enjoyed shopping, sewing, and cooking. She was known for her homemade hamburgers and purple hull peas. She enjoyed listening to all types of gospel music but her favorite was the blues. She loved her children passionately and was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
She was a private woman who found solace in the comfort of her home. She possessed a sweet and soft disposition. She maintained an impeccable standard of appearance with fashionable clothes, designer purses and shoes. She loved to dress and was rarely seen on Sundays without a beautiful hat.
After 83 years of a good life, she passed from this life on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at her home. She was preceded in death by her parents, James Browning and Lucy Smith Beard; a brother, James Browning; and her son, Anthony David Newburn (July 31, 1959 – February 22, 2018).
A lifetime of love and memories will be felt by her children. She leaves to continue and cherish her legacy her children: son Aubrey Newburn of Arkadelphia; daughters, Deborah (Jackie) Cotledge of Arkadelphia and Rochell Piggee of Arkadelphia; two granddaughters, Porchia Cotledge of Arkadelphia and Krissen Piggee of Arkadelphia; her great-grandchildren, Jase Russell, Caileigh Russell, Paxton Cotledge and James Piggee; her beloved sisters, Dorothy Johnson-Lister (Bobby) of Arkadelphia, Tina Browning of Detroit, Mich., Vera Parks of Aurora, Ill. and Beatrice Martin of Indianapolis, Ind. She also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, and relatives; a special friend, Leon Stitt, and close friend Wanessa Reed; and the Mt. Morriah Baptist Church family.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 5, from 1-6 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home. A service in honor of her life will be shared at 11 a.m. Friday, May 6, at Mt. Morriah Baptist Church, with Rev. A.S. Newburn serving as eulogist. Interment will be at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.