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Mary Russell Butler

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Mary Russell Butler Obituary
Mary Russell Butler Mary Russell Butler passed away peacefully at her home on Thursday, November 15, 2012. Mary Wilson Russell was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 18, 1915. Her parents, Raymond Richard and Meta Gibson Russell were civic leaders in San Antonio, donating land to establish Russell Park, and also founding Alamo Downs. An avid horsewoman, Mary was a charter member of the women's polo team at the University of Texas at Austin. She helped establish the Bit and Spur Riding Club, which sponsored polo matches and horse shows in Austin and San Antonio. Mary met her future husband of 65 years, Michael Wood Butler, when she called upon him to buy a polo pony. Mike and Mary were married on March 13, 1936 in San Antonio. After honeymooning in Monterrey, Mexico they settled in Austin, surrounded by those who would become life-long friends. In 1945, Mike and Mary built their home in Westlake Hills, before the Low Water Bridge had been built. Their children established homes on adjacent property, where over the years, up to four generations of the family have lived side by side. Mary was a member of many charitable and social organizations. She was a founding member of the Coronet Club, a dinner and dance club, and was active in the Junior League. After the birth of her three children, she put her considerable creativity and sewing skills to use by becoming the costume designer for the Children's Theater, which was directed by Zachary Scott. Always with friends, Mary was an original member of Sewing Club, a group of Austin ladies who managed to have lunch once a week for over five decades. In 1953, Governor Allan Shivers appointed Mary to the organization that would later become the Texas Historical Commission. She served on the Commission for a decade. As Chairwoman, she placed the first official historical medallion on a private home, Eggleston House, in Gonzales, Texas on March 4, 1962. In countless ways, Mary created a sense of home and tradition for four generations of her family, including her 11 "Great Grands". Foremost among these traditions was her annual Christmas tree - seldom less than 15' tall. Her never-finished collection of hundreds of nacimientos from around the world also delighted and amazed friends and family. In recent years, Mary was most proud of the improvements to Butler Park, named for the Michael Butler family who had donated the land to the City of Austin in 1941. She adored seeing her great grandchildren, themselves seventh-generation Austinites, playing in the park. Mary is preceded in death by her husband, Michael Wood Butler, and brother, State Representative Raymond R. Russell Jr., a decorated World War II veteran. Mary is survived by her children, Russ and Linda Butler, Michael and Marty Butler and Meta Butler Hunt and Trent Miller; grandchildren Libby Santos, Dick Butler and Pamela Fricke, James Butler, Meta-Margret Carson and Bill Kiaune, Brian and Sophie Hunt, Stephen and Mollie Butler, and Charles and Emily Miller; her Great Grands Marcella Santos, Isabel Santos, Elisabeth Butler, Mary Katherine Butler, Kelty Carson, Will Carson, Diego Kiaune, Daniel Butler, Patrick Butler, Alexis Hunt, and Henri Hunt; sister in law Margaret Russell, and her children Raymond & Kerri Russell, and their daughter, Meta Amanda; nephew John and Marion White. The family would like to thank Crescencio Vasquez, George Rogers Clark, Kim Brown, Diane Flood, the Reverend Barry Thiering, and Robinson Creek Home Health and Hospice for their care and support. Graveside services will be held on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at Assumption Cemetery, 3650 I-H 35 South, in Austin. Honorary Pallbearers are Dick Butler, James Butler, Brian Hunt, Trent Miller, Stephen Butler, George Rogers Clark, Bill Kiaune, and Raymond R. Russell. The family requests in lieu of flowers that contributions be made to the Michael W. Butler Scholarship fund at St. Edward's University. Donations can be sent to St. Edward's University, Development Office, 3001 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704. Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, 2012
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