Wilma Imogene (Bettis) Barnum passed away June 25, 2018
Wilma Imogene (Bettis) Barnum, born June 25, 1925, near Quitman, Arkansas, was the youngest daughter of Robert A. Bettis and Lottie deBusk Bettis.
Following the death of her father at an early age, her family resided with her maternal grandparents, Ira and Salura Ellis debusk. Jean attended Pearson School through eighth grade and then Quitman High School where she graduated in 1943 as Valedictorian of her class. Although she was offered two scholarships, Jean chose to take the Teachers Exam and begin teaching the next school year. She was assigned to Higden School where she boarded at the home of Mrs. Ann Barnum. While living there, Mrs. Barnum's son, James Atlas, came home on leave from the Navy. They met, corresponded during World War II and fell in love. They married November 2, 1945, soon after his release from the Navy.
Jean worked as a substitute teacher and secretary at Shirley School. In later years she volunteered at the Van Buren County Historical Society where she transcribed many pages of census data. A deeply religious woman, she was a member of the United Methodist Church and attended Shirley Community Church for almost 70 years. She served there in several capacities including secretary and Sunday School teacher.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband, James Atlas Barnum; her son, Robert Barnum: her parents, Robert and Lottie Bettis; her sisters, Salura Ravenel Bettis Brown, Zenoba Elizabeth Bettis and Juanita Althea Bettis Green and her son-in-law, John Kopec.
Jean is survived by three children: Martha Barnum Kopec, James Mitchell Barnum and Charles L. Barnum and his wife, Barbara; five grandchildren: John Kopec, Jean Kopec Younger and her husband, David, Zachary Barnum, Gregory Barnum and Griffin Barnum as well as two great-grandchildren; John B. Younger and his wife, Janice Gerena, and Alysa Younger; sister-in-law, Esther Barnum Turney; as well as many other family members and friends.
Her family are especially grateful to the staff at Ozark Health Nursing Home and Hospice for the excellent care Jean received during her final illness.
Visitation will be held at 2:00pm on Monday, June 25, 2018 and Funeral services will follow at 3:00pm in the Shirley Community Church with Jan Vandygriff officiating, interment will follow in the Settlement Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please remember Jean with a donation to a charity of your choice.