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Life Story / Obituary
Although she experienced so many things that greatly enriched her life’s journey, there was nothing that Beatrice Butler treasured more than being surrounded by the love of her family. She was a dedicated wife and mother if ever there was one, but she just may have argued that being a grandmother was her greatest gift. Bea was independent and courageous, the sort of person who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, yet she was also one of the sweetest people around. An active part of the community she called home throughout the majority of her life, Bea will be forever remembered by all who were within her reach.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. These were prosperous days when radios, refrigerators, and motion pictures in both color and sound were among the many advancements we witnessed that forever transformed the way we lived our daily lives. Cars were more affordable for the average American because of the wide implementation of the assembly line and Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh took the world of flight to new heights. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1927 when Lawrence and Beadus (Cole) Carr were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the beauty of spring unfolded in Vicksburg, Michigan. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Beatrice made her arrival on May 11th. She was of German, Irish, French, and Indian descent, and as the youngest of three children she was raised in the family home alongside her older brothers, Arnold and Charles.
In many ways, Beatrice, or Bea as she was known to her family and friends, lived a typical childhood as a young girl of her generation. Her father worked at a local paper mill while her mother was a busy homemaker. Bea attended local schools with her high school years being spent in Vicksburg and later in Kalamazoo.
Life was forever changed for Bea when she became better acquainted with the love of her life. His name was Leonard “Shorty” Butler, and they had known one another since they were kids in Vicksburg. They began dating, and it wasn’t long before the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Bea and Shorty were married on July 28, 1951, marking the beginning of a new chapter in a love story that would span nearly 50 years. Together they raised their four children including Larry, Sherrie, Cindy, and Lisa in Portage. Bea didn’t work outside the home so she was able to focus her time and attention on caring for her home and family. She was a firm disciplinarian when needed, but she was always fair. Bea looked forward to Christmas each year and loved making her home sparkle by decorating for the season including putting up several trees. When grandchildren arrived later on, she couldn’t have been happier, and spending time with her grandchildren quickly became a favorite activity.
Throughout her life Bea was a woman of many interests. She was a talented seamstress who also crocheted sweaters, bonnets, booties, and blankets for her grandchildren. Artistically gifted, Bea also taught herself tole painting. She was an avid collector of Precious Moments figurines, and Bea attended Precious Moments conventions in several different states. She could often be found out in her gardens, tending to her flowers. Bea did travel some and she also lived in California for a time. Playing Bridge was something she enjoyed doing for years, and she liked playing cards at the Portage Senior Center later in life. Being there became a great way for her to make friends, especially after the death of her beloved husband in 2000. Shortly after his death, Bea found great companionship with her pet, Misty.
In October of 2014 Bea broke her hip and moved to Heartland of Battle Creek. While living at Heartland she participated in activities and forged new friendships. Everyone at Heartland loved her and her feisty nature! With unending love for her family and friends, Beatrice Butler made the most of every day she was given. She was strong minded and confident in making her own choices, and at times she was outspoken, too. Loving and caring, Bea treasured every memory she made with family and friends. She will be forever missed.
Beatrice Butler, died Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Bea’s family includes her son, Larry Butler of Muskegon, MI; three daughters Sherrie (Larkin) Hohnke of Walkersville, MD; Cindy (Bruce) Bezaury of Tucson, AZ; Lisa (Joseph) O’Connell of Springfield, MI; 9 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild. Cremation has taken place. Internment will take place on Friday, August 7, 2015, at 2:30 at Ft. Custer National Cemetery where her ashes will join those of her husband who preceded her in death in 2000. In lieu of flowers, Bea asked that family and friends donate to Heartland Hospice Battle Creek or another charity of their choosing in her memory. Arrangements by RDMG Life Story Funeral Home, Portage Chapel (269 344-5600). Please share a memory of Beatrice at www.lifestorynet.com.