Helen Matthews Bearden, 91, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on September 16, 2022, in Longview, Texas. She was born October 21, 1930, in Buckner, Arkansas to James and Tena Matthews. Helen was one of 10 children and graduated from Hope High School.
In 1952, Helen married Joseph Mack Bearden, and a few years later they were blessed with two children, Michael and Mary. Over the course of Joe’s military career in the United States Navy, their family lived in Japan, Hawaii, New Orleans, and finally, Tennessee. While living in Millington, Tennessee, Helen taught kindergarten.
After Joe retired from the military, the family moved back to Arkansas where Helen worked with her sister, Doris, at the Sheltered Workshop in Magnolia. In 1976, she opened the Helping Hands Sheltered Workshop in Hope and served as executive director until her retirement in 2007. She was recognized as an Arkansas Citizen of the Year, and Hempstead
County citizen of the year in 1993. Helen served on the founding board of Hope in Action and was instrumental in helping establish the Charitable Christian Medical Clinic in Hope.
Helen was famous in town for baking Italian Cream Cakes that would be auctioned for high prices at the annual fish fry to benefit the clinic. She was involved in numerous other civic activities as well as assisting many people on a personal level.
When Helen was 11 years old, she asked Jesus into her heart and was baptized at Shiloh Baptist Church in Buckner Arkansas. For years, she was an active member of Unity Baptist Church, teaching Sunday school, Awana, WMA, vacation bible school, supported the youth department, and hosted a countless number of showers. Helen could always be counted on to cook for fellowships and special needs. She had such a generous and loving heart for all of God’s children, and her whole life was spent in service to others. Words cannot express how much she will be missed.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents; eight siblings; and her loving husband of 59 years, Joe. She is survived by one sister, Maxine Stevens, of Nacogdoches, Texas; and sisters-in-law, Shirley Matthews of Stamps, Arkansas; and Jessie Matthews of Shreveport, Louisiana; her son, Michael Bearden and wife Lynn; daughter, Mary Bearden all of Longview, Texas; her dear grandchildren, Jennifer Bearden of Hallsville, Texas; Lara Holloway and husband, Cody of Hallsville, Texas; Daylon Bearden of Longview, Texas; Alex Bearden of Junction City, Kansas; Caleb Bearden of Longview, Texas; and Sebastian Bearden of Longview, Texas; will always love and honor the memory of their cherished Mamaw. She also leaves behind her 5 great-grandchildren, Calym; Amryn; Olivia; Audrey; and Max Holloway of Hallsville, Texas; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
As Helen had lived with her son, Michael and his wife, Lynn for the past four years, she had happily built a new circle of friends and church family. However, a piece of her has always missed her beloved Hope, Arkansas community.
The family would like to invite friends for a time of visitation on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Herndon-Fuqua Funeral Home located at 403 S. Main Street, Hope, Arkansas. A Funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at Unity Baptist Church, located at 402 S Hervey Street, Hope, Arkansas. Interment will follow at Memory Gardens cemetery, under the direction of Herndon-Fuqua Funeral Home.
We also invite you to express your public condolences at www.herndonfuquafuneralhomes.com or private Letters of Love at www.herndonfuquafuneralhomes.com/page/letters-of-love.