Estelle Davis Butler was born on August 26, 1921 in Seaboard, North Carolina. After World War II, she and her husband settled in Claxton, Georgia to "live a lovely life" as she stated during her last visit to the home they shared. She peacefully died the day after her 93rd birthday on August 27, 2014. She was surrounded by love and her children.
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"Esty" was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Geddie Jerome Butler. They were members of the Greatest Generation. They lived their lives and raised their children with the integrity and values of their time. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Maggie and Richard Davis and her seven beloved siblings. She is survived by her son, Jerome Butler (Cindy) of Savannah; daughter, Lynne Butler Bayens of Richmond Hill; granddaughter, Lucinda Butler of St. Augustine Beach, Florida; grandson, Davis Butler (Nastazia) of Savannah; grandson, Mickey Bayens (Kerry) of Richmond Hill; granddaughter, Ashley Bayens of Johns Island, Florida, Kelly Bayens Moll (Dan) of St. Louis, Missouri; great-grandchildren, Joanna, ViVi, Buckley Bayens and McKenzie, Alex and D. J. Moll; and her devoted nieces and nephews, friends and Louise Majors who was like another sister to Esty.
Mrs. Butler was proud to be an educator for over 30 years. One of her greatest joys was encountering former students and hearing their memories. While teaching science in the Evans County Schools, she established an Annual Science Fair. Her students were formidable competition at District in Savannah even when competing against the "City Schools." Mrs. Butler and many of these students traveled with their science projects to the state competition at The University of Georgia and several continued to win at the National Science Fair in Houston, Texas. She knew these opportunities were life changing for many of these young people.
As Claxton High Student Council Advisor, Mrs. Butler encouraged student and civic involvement in Homecoming festivities. This became a highly anticipated yearly event filled with a parade, marching bands, colorful floats and an impressive ceremony to remember alumnae and crown the Homecoming Queen! Downtown Claxton streets were rerouted and crowds turned out to enjoy the celebration.
For 20 years, Mrs. Butler was the Guidance Counselor at Claxton High School. She was determined to help each child find a career path. She read college guidebooks and wished she could attend them all herself! Mrs. Butler loved being a student almost as much as being a teacher!
She graduated from East Carolina University where she was President of the Student Body. She was honored in 2005 at a special ceremony at the University and was interviewed for the Oral History Library discussing college during WWII.
Mrs. Butler received two Masters Degrees from Georgia Southern University; first in Health Education and also Guidance Counseling. She continued her education well into her later years because she believed "Use it or Lose it!" Her last formal employment was when she was 80 years old and worked as a tester for the Census Bureau. She continued to volunteer throughout her 80s.
Mrs. Butler was selected District Counselor of the Year and Health Educator of the Year by The Florida Citrus Association. She served as President of The Evans County Cancer Society and was a 37 year survivor of cancer. She was President of United Methodist Women. She was a member of The Evans County Retired Teachers Association, a charter member of Delta Kappa Gamma and Claxton First United Methodist Church.
Family was the most important part of life to Esty. She loved her children and extended family beyond belief. Long distances were traveled to stay close to family in North Carolina and Virginia. She would do anything to bring a smile to her grandchildren's faces or to comfort the infirm. She liked to brag that she taught her children and grandchildren how to drive a car at early ages. Her resolve to attend family gatherings grew with each passing year. Her children knew better than to suggest we miss even one! As her siblings passed away, she became more determined to be present and remind us of the joy of a loving family.
Esty moved to Richmond Hill to be near her children. She enjoyed the coastal beauty, birds and flowers she could see from her daughter's breakfast table. She loved sunsets and clouds. She had a childlike sense of fun deciding what shapes the clouds represented. All who knew her played this game at least once.
Estelle Butler lived a full and happy life. Her last days were filled with kindness and beautiful care at The Suites at Station Exchange. Her caregivers were remarkable.
Estelle's life will be celebrated Friday, September 5, 2014, 11 a.m., Claxton First United Methodist Church. A private burial for the family will be held 10 a.m., at Brewton Cemetery.
Donations may be made to Claxton First United Methodist Church or a
Richmond Hill Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Richmond Hill Funeral Home - Richmond Hill
8901 Ford Ave. P.O. Box 999 Richmond Hill, GA 31324
Published in BryanCountyNews from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2014