On November 9, 2018, held in the arms of her son, Evelyn Joyce Butler took her last earthly breath. She peacefully stepped into eternity and the loving embrace of Jesus. “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” we have no doubt, were the words that welcomed her.
Evelyn was born in Griggs, Oklahoma, on August 25, 1925. She graduated from Plainview School and was known for her academic excellence and basketball talent. It was told to the family that spectators would come from miles around to watch her basketball skills and admire her unmatched beauty. After high school, she attended Panhandle State A&M, where she majored in home economics and met a handsome athlete, Eldrige Butler, who became her husband. They were married in Portland, Oregon, on November 6, 1946. After living in Portland a couple of years, they moved to Pendleton, Oregon, where they started their family. Evelyn was a cook, seamstress, and homemaker extraordinaire, remembered for her hospitality and gracious personality. Opportunities with family then brought them to Billings, MT, where two more children were born.
Mom and Dad enjoyed the simple pleasures. Visiting on the porch with neighbors over a fresh pot of coffee and having bridge club get-togethers were common events at the Butler household. One of Mom’s favorite sayings was, “We must warn you…when you become friends with the Butlers, it is for life!” Mom always had time to listen and was sought after for sage advice by family and friends.
As important as their friends were to our parents, family was their focus and passion. We have endless stories of family outings, sleepovers for the grandkids, music, dancing, laughter, games, and always enjoying Mom’s great food. Every gathering became a memorable celebration.
Mom possessed a modest elegance that belied her Oklahoma upbringing. She was a woman of great faith and quietly demonstrated her faith in countless ways. Empathy was one of her strong suits. Encouraging others and lending a helping hand was second nature to her. Not only was she a “rock” for others during difficult times, she also had that rare ability of being genuinely thrilled for others’ successes. She truly was a Southern lady to the end.
When Evelyn was 71, she suffered a massive stroke. She courageously lived independently for 16 years in her home, striving to continue a full life within the confines of her paralysis and wheelchair. Six years ago, however, she entered the most challenging time of her life. The journey of nursing “care” would test her strength more than living through the dust bowl days of the Great Depression and losing her childhood home to fire. In spite of adverse conditions, she continued to find ways of sharing her hospitable, sweet spirit with those around her. We were grateful, after four years, to find the people at Ponderosa, who treated Mom more than merely a job. She became “family” to the caregivers. Six months ago, Mom was admitted to the Riverstone Hospice Home. “Home” was the key word, for sure. The atmosphere was like no other. What a gift it was for Mom to be able to live the final part of her journey in such a magnificent place. She received exceptional medical attention, delicious homemade meals, and, most importantly, love and care from the incredible staff.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Eldrige; stepson, Rand; sister, Marjorie; and brother, James. Survivors include three children, Joyce Rathburn (Steve), Brad Butler (Jill), and Carol Dyk (Bill), brother, Lt. Col. USAF (ret.) John Lee; and sister, Virginia Pratt. She has twelve grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
A special thanks to Kim and Larry, who regularly visited and brightened Mom’s life! Many thanks to our Riverstone Hospice Home “family.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Riverstone Hospice Home.