Ethel Green Banta

Published 4:16 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Sept. 2, 1933 – March 24, 2023

NATCHEZ – A Service of Christian Burial for Ethel Green Banta, 89, of Natchez will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 6, 2023, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez, with the Rev. Ken Ritter officiating.

Visitation will be at Kuehnle Hall from 9 a.m. until the service time, with a celebration of her life after the service at Stanton Hall, 401 High St.

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Ethel Green Banta passed away at her historic home, Hope Farm, on Friday, March 24, 2023.

The daughter of Ruth Blanks Green and Walter “Chick” Galloway Green, she was born Sept. 2, 1933, in Jackson, MS, and spent her early years in Natchez.

She was a graduate of Natchez High School and Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

She was married for 25 years to Bruce Ferris Banta. The couple lived in Ridgewood, NJ, where they raised their family and where she continued her love of tennis and was active in the Junior League of Bergen County and its theater troupe. She enjoyed working on live shows for elementary students in underserved communities.

She also worked with autistic children at the Forum School in New Jersey and facilitated the purchase and renovation of a large home for teenage girls involved with the foster care system.

Through those years she never lost her love of Natchez.

After Bruce Banta’s death in 1983, she returned to Natchez at the time Hope Farm was available for sale.   She was very familiar with Hope Farm because as a young person, she had received visitors there during Spring Pilgrimage. She was also fond of her mother’s friend and Hope Farm’s owner, Katherine Miller, whom she called “Play Mama.”   She bought Hope Farm and made it her home for the past 40 years. She embraced the history and hospitality of the historic property, opened it for tours, and made lifelong friends with her many bed and breakfast guests.

She was active in civic affairs in Natchez, especially enjoying her work with Mimi and Ron Miller and the Historic Natchez Foundation, of which she was president. She helped for years with a program that took reproductions of Natchez furniture to a larger audience.

Her volunteer efforts as a member of the board of directors of the Pilgrimage Garden Club focused on restoring Stanton Hall, especially locating original Stanton family furnishings and returning the original color scheme to the triple parlors.

Her love of the mansion was reinforced by two special occasions. Stanton Hall was the site of her and her husband’s wedding reception in 1957, and later, in 1990, the site of the wedding reception of their son, Jim, and his wife, Kathleen.

She was also devoted to Trinity Episcopal Church, where she was a Sunday lector for many years and a regular attendee.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Bruce Ferris Banta; an infant son, Charles Banta; her brother, Walter Galloway Green, Jr., and his wife, Dorothy Stone Green; her brother, William Roper “Butch” Green; and her brothers-in-law, Dr. William Felix Calhoun and Peter Gray Banta.

She is survived by her sister, Ruth Ellen Green Calhoun of Natchez; her sister-in-law, Helen Coleman Green; her brother-in-law and his wife, Dave and Tina Banta of Florida and Maine; and her children, Ruth Green Banta and Ellen Cain of Northampton, MA; James Banta and Kathleen Fulton of Midlothian, VA; Dr. Alice Ulrichs of Richmond, VA; and Katherine and Dr. Caleb Banta-Green of Seattle, WA.  She is also survived by many grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

The family is especially grateful for the loving care provided by Diane Davis over the past year.

Burial will be private at a future date.

Memorial donations may be sent to Trinity Episcopal Church, 305 S. Commerce St., Natchez, MS 39120; The Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 S. Commerce St., Natchez, MS 39120; Pilgrimage Historical Association (for Stanton Hall restoration), P.O. Box 347, Natchez, MS 39121; or Special Olympics Mississippi, 2906 N. State St., Suite 206, Jackson, MS 39216.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at