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Susan Diane Buttram

1952 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Susan Diane Buttram Obituary
Susan Diane Buttram

Corpus Christi, TX

Susan Diane Buttram, age 65, passed away, June 10, 2017 at her home in Corpus Christi, Texas, amid the loving arms of her family. She was born February 4, 1952 in Mobile, Alabama to Barbara Gray Buttram and Calvin Buttram. She was raised in Houston TX where she graduated from John H. Reagan High School. She is survived and dearly loved by her mother Barbara Gray Earl. Brother Bobby Buttram, wife Carolyn and their children Thomas and Robby. Brother Larry Buttram, wife Debra and their children Travis and Allison. Also 6 great nieces and nephews. Numerous loving family and friends. As well as her dearly loved cat LULU. Susan retired about 10 years ago from ExxonMobil Refinery Lab in Baytown, TX. Susan always enjoyed adventurous times. She skydived, took flying lessons, scuba dived and zip lined in Alaska. Susan enjoyed reading, volunteer work and spending time with her family when she was not traveling. Her choice was cremation. Following cremation there will be scattering of ashes in to the Gulf of Mexico. A portion of her ashes will be going to the moon as part of the CELESTIS LUNA 2 Memorial Spaceflight, presently scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2017. Condolences may be left in Susan's online guestbook at Her many charitable organizations were very important to Susan. Memorial donations may be made to Women's Shelter of South Texas or to The Cattery Cat Shelter.

Why I am a feminist?

I wrote this for you, Bobby, to read. After you have read it, we can talk about it or it will never be mentioned again, it is up to you.

You were never told you couldn't do something because you were a boy. No actually, that you were not allowed to try to do it because you were a boy.

When we were young you and Larry played organized sports and went to The Boys Club. There were no organized sports for girls or Girls Club. This gave the not so subtle hint that boys were more valued/important to society. Even though I was the oldest y'all were allowed to do things at a younger age than I was, because I am a girl and that is the way the world is. Mom was the one that told me I could do more than just be a wife and mother. There was a world out there to see. All the newscasters, cops, most doctors, sports teams, etc., and anyone else in authority were men.

In 6th grade I decided, like kids will, that I wanted to be a FBI agent. I wrote a letter to the local FBI agency asking what I needed to study to become an agent. I received a reply that thanked me for my interest, but only men could be agents. They would be happy to have me apply to be a secretary, clerk or work in the lab. If I had been interested in those jobs that is what I would have asked about! Junior and senior high teachers and counselors were more interested in preparing girls to get married than to aim for a higher education. Even if you went to college that was seen as a way to meet and marry someone who would be making more money, not to gain an education. Thank god we had a mother who encouraged me to learn and told me there was more to life than getting married and having babies!

In tenth grade I took swimming as my gym class. Our instructor said that she would teach us racing turns even though we would never get to use it. The unspoken part was that girls were not allowed to compete in school sports. I played basketball three years in a row at Reagan. The 1st year my team received the 2nd place ribbon. The next two years we got letters for first place. The games were in the gym, there were no "away games" because we were only allowed to play other teams at Reagan, on our own time, it was not publicized and no one came to the games. There were no sports scholarships to college for girls.

Flying, you know I always wanted to fly. Well, you know I got some flying lessons for my 16th birthday from that friend of Lloyd's. I don't know if you ever knew or remember why they only lasted a short time. His friend told him that he liked to take women flying as a way to impress them so they would have sex with him. That was the end of my flying lessons. "No daughter of mine is going flying with a sex maniac!" if that had been you or Larry you would have still been having lessons. What he said wasn't said as a threat he was talking about women his age.

In high school I decided to try to become an astronaut, so I wrote a letter to NASA. You would think I would have learned my lesson and called myself Billy Buttram or something, but no. I received another rejection letter, women can't be astronauts. So I ask when they thought women might be allowed to be astronauts, and basically the returned letter said, we don't know leave us alone!

I still wanted to fly. Most commercial pilots gained the flight hours and experience they needed by being military pilots. Of course, they also said women couldn't be pilots! I didn't even care what I would be flying; it could have been a prop plane carrying mail. So I was screwed again. Eventually I just gave up on my dreams you can only take so much rejection. A boyfriend in high school told me I must want to be a guy since I liked to do things guy did. I told him I only wanted to be able to do the things that interested me. When I applied to work at the phone company, before I started U of H I wanted to work in the circuit room. That seems more interesting than being a phone operator and paid better. Nope, only men could have that job.

When I started work at Exxon there was still a lot of harassment that women had to put up with, like older men who didn't want to train women. Then there was the process guy who brought samples to the lab about 2 a.m., while I was the only one at the receiving desk. He then yells at me for taking away a man's job who now wouldn't be able to take care of his family because of me. I was scared, he was a lot bigger than me. I started backing up, hoping he would not come across the 4 foot high 4 foot wide lab bench. I told him that if he wanted to give me his salary with no strings attached some man could have this job. Otherwise I had earned it and it was mine. Thankfully he left without physically attacking me.

I am not talking about applying and not getting the job, I am talking about not even being able to apply because of your gender. I am not even talking about the everyday little things, just the major ones.

This gave the appearance that men were smarter, more competent than women simply because they were allowed by society to do more.

Now things are some better. There are female doctors, FBI agents, newscasters, cops, astronauts, etc.

One friend at work had a daughter going to U of H on an athletic scholarship and another had a daughter in the Air Force said qualified to be a pilot.

So things are better if not great, but most of it came too late for me.

How would you have felt if it was reversed and you were not allowed to do what you were interested in?

My freedom to do something does not detract from your freedom.
Published in Corpus-Christi Caller-Times on June 25, 2017
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