Community Newspaperwoman Betty Magie Dies at 84

Former community newspaper owner Elizabeth "Betty" Magie, 84, died Monday morning in Cabot.

The Lonoke County native died of kidney failure, according to her son, Mark Magie.

Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Moore's Cabot Funeral Home. The funeral will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday at Cabot United Methodist Church, with interment at Concord Cemetery in Furlow. 

Magie's husband, newspaperman Cone Magie, preceded her in death in 2006.

Magie was the daughter of Louis and Shellie Hicks Rice of Furlow. She is survived by her children, Shelly Moran of Cabot, Connie Buckingham of Van Buren and Mark Magie of Little Rock, as well as by seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Magie co-owned five central Arkansas newspapers with her husband.

The couple was honored in 1991 as Arkansas Journalists of the Year by the department of journalism at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. They also received the Ernie Deane Award for valor in journalism in 1998 and were inducted into the Lemke Journalism Alumni Society Hall of Honor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2005.

Betty Magie was also honored as the National Federation of Press Women's 1979 Woman of Achievement and was given in 1988 the National Newspaper Association's McKinney Award for outstanding community journalism.

Betty and Cone Magie each served a one-year stint as president of the Arkansas Press Association, as did their son, Mark.

The couple founded the Cabot Star in 1955, effectively starting Betty Magie's journalism career.

They merged the Cabot Star with the community's older Cabot Herald in 1956. The pair also owned the weekly Carlisle Independent, Lonoke Democrat and Sherwood Voice, as well as the Jacksonville Patriot, which was a daily newspaper they eventually converted to a twice weekly paper.

"They loved their profession and they loved to share their love for it with other people," Mark Magie said. 

Brooke Cotton, who was a graphic designer for the Cabot newspaper under Betty Magie for about eight years, said Magie "kept us all in line," but also embraced her employees as family.

"She adopted everybody that worked for her," Cotton said. "She was an awesome, awesome lady."

Born Aug. 28, 1927, Betty Magie worked for her family's newspapers for more than 50 years, and served in a variety roles, including as editor and reporter. She also laid out newspaper pages, affixed subscriber address labels to publications and oversaw the business finances. Her children Shelly and Mark both worked for the newspapers, as well, for several years.   

She worked at the newspapers until her company, Magie Enterprises, sold the five papers to Stephens Media Group of Las Vegas in 2006, shortly after Cone Magie's death at age 81.