Emma Jean (Varner) Kerst

October 2, 1937 ~ July 5, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old


Emma Jean Kerst, age 85, proved ready-to-go to her heavenly home on July 5, 2023 after a long battle with heart failure. Born October 2,1937, in Lake City, Arkansas to Webb and Florence Varner, she was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Alfred Eugene Kerst, a son John Louis Kerst, and a daughter Rebecca Lou Kerst.

Jean is survived by her son Paul (Cecilia) Kerst of Conway, AR, and daughter Judi (Jerry) Foster of San Andreas, CA. She has four grandchildren Katie Kerst of Conway, Jeffrey “Lou” Kerst of Fayetteville, Brandon (Jesse) Foster of Lake City, and Rachel (David) Page of Brookland, AR.  She also has five great-grandchildren and a host of beloved nieces and nephews across the country. She deeply loved all her Nebraska Kerst Family.

Originally from Poplar Ridge near Lake City, Jean was the first of her family to attend college and studied at Ouachita Baptist College with the Class of 1959. She met Al while he was in the Marine Corps and they lived in Memphis, TN, Cherry Point, NC, El Toro, CA, Belmont, CA and eventually returned to Arkansas, settling in Jonesboro. Later in life, she worked in the Administration of Nettleton Public Schools in Jonesboro where she retired as Bookkeeper. Simultaneously, she led her busy life fulfilling her calling as a Pastor’s wife for many years. She and Al retired to Greers Ferry, AR where she continued to be an active member of Westside First Baptist Church.

Throughout her life Jean enjoyed traveling and family vacations. She participated in many mission trips to several countries around the world. She loved to experience how people of other nationalities lived and shared Jesus’ love with them whenever she could. Her favorite book is The Bible, and her favorite verses were Psalms chapter 119.

Jean and Al enjoyed their retirement years keeping busy with grandkids and fishing at the lake. She also enjoyed cooking, crocheting and crafting, collecting dishes, antiques, Hummel figurines, all things chicken-themed, and every estate sale she could find.

She leaves behind many friends and family and a very special niece, Vada Wrinkle of Marmaduke, AR, who was raised as a sister to her on the family’s cotton farm on Poplar Ridge.

Emma Jean will be dearly missed by everyone who knew her.

In lieu of flowers, please consider the Westside First Baptist Church of Greers Ferry, AR building fund or missions fund.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Emma Jean (Varner) Kerst, please visit our floral store.

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Visitation Prior to Funeral Service
July 11, 2023

1:00 PM
West Side Baptist Church
7025 Greers Ferry Rd
Greers Ferry, AR 72067

Funeral Service
July 11, 2023

2:00 PM
West Side Baptist Church
7025 Greers Ferry Rd
Greers Ferry, AR 72067


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