Delma Louise Barrett Butrum Brazle, gracious woman of God, passed away Sept. 16, 2012 at the age of 91 in her home, surrounded by family in Bozeman. Delma will be remembered as a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, teacher, businesswoman, family counselor, friend, but especially as a compassionate servant of God.
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Delma was born on Dec. 30, 1920 in Webb City, Mo. to Harry Ernest and Ferol France Barrett, the eldest of two daughters. She and her parents soon moved to Lefors, Texas where she completed high school and, in 1939, married Harold Dean Butrum. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to McLean, Texas and had three sons, Melvin Dean Butrum, James Lewis Butrum and Herbert Lee Butrum. Ten years into the marriage her husband suffered a heart attack from which he never fully recovered. Answering the call of a family need Delma opened a new business, Butrum's Women and Children's Clothing store. After 22 happy years, Harold died unexpectedly in 1962. Being widowed at an early age was difficult, but her strong faith provided the confidence to move to Abilene, Texas, where at 43, she enrolled as a freshman at Abilene Christian College. Four years later she graduated cum laude with a degree in education. Her strong desire for ministry led her to accept a position at Abilene Christian as a Dorm Mother, where she ministered to over 1,200 young women spanning a five-year period.
In 1972, she was introduced by a friend to William Clinton Brazle, a Church of Christ missionary serving churches in the northwest United States and western Canada. They quickly became soul mates and, after a five-month whirlwind courtship by letter and telephone, they were married. Three of his seven children, Peter, Paul and Kellock Nitla, foster daughter from India, were still at home at the time and they, along with their many friends who would drop by, often without notice, gave new meaning to "short order cooking" and flexibility, but most importantly gave Delma a warm welcome to her new family and circle of friends at Western Christian College in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada where they served for 21 years. Clinton gave Delma a voice and encouraged her passion for ministry, as together they conducted 50 Marriage Encounters and 60 Family Enrichment Seminars aimed toward helping parents deal with teens, encouraging strong marriages, providing hope for those who had lost their mates and counseling how to cope with the challenges of aging. The lives changed through these ministries are countless.
Clinton and Delma's ministry enabled them to serve Churches of Christ in Weyburn, Saskatchewan Canada, Boston, Mass.; Tulsa and Stillwater, Okla. and Bozeman. They traveled to India, Belgium, Switzerland, France, and Israel where Delma particularly enjoyed her time in the Garden of Gethsemane, a place she had long wanted to experience.
Delma was predeceased by two of her sons, Melvin Dean Butrum in 1984 and James Lewis Butrum in 1998 and their foster daughter, Kellock Nitla Jones in 2006. She is survived by her sister, Barbara Martin and three nieces all from Kilgore, Texas; her husband of 40 years, William Clinton Brazle, and their blended family of Herb Butrum and wife Alice of Houston, Texas; Melinda Benoit of Ottawa and Bozeman; Marilyn Muller and husband David of Dauphin, Manitoba; Mike Brazle and wife Gail of Reeds Spring, Mo.; Mark Brazle and wife Jill of Tallmadge, Ohio; Paul Brazle and wife Carol of Antwerp, Belgium; and Peter Brazle and wife Janine of Clawson, Mich. Additionally, they celebrated 31 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren scattered across the globe.
Special appreciation to Mindy Brazle Benoit who selflessly cared for Delma for much of the past 10 years, Dr. Kathryn Borgenicht, and Hospice of Southwest Montana for their unique service of loving care.
A service celebrating the life of this remarkable lady will be held at the Bozeman Church of Christ, located at 1825 Kagy, on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 beginning at 2 p.m. Public visitation will be held at Dahl Funeral Home, 300 Highland Boulevard in Bozeman on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Family members will be present from 3 to 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made payable to Abilene Christian University, earmarked for the Delma Butrum Brazle Endowment for Abilene Christian University which will benefit the College of Biblical Studies and mailed to ACU Box 29132, Abilene, Texas 79699 or may be made online at acu.edu/giveonline.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 23, 2012