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Mary  G.  Butler

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“Jim, I'm very sorry to learn of Mary' passing. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Renee Hawes (former homeschool friend) ”
1 of 12 | Posted by: Renee Hawes

“We will miss your presence, Mary.You have been a bright gem of our city, Battle Creek.We are thankful for all you've done for us all.Phil and Maria ”
2 of 12 | Posted by: Philip Ptacin - Portland, ME

“Mary will always be with us as she leaves a great legacy of historical information on Battle Creek. A walking encyclopedia, she always had an...Read More »
3 of 12 | Posted by: Linda Holderbaum Holderbaum - MI

“My deepest sympathy for Mary’s passing.I remember so many great conversations with Mary about the history of Battle Creek. ”
4 of 12 | Posted by: Cindy Fadel - Friend

“Mary was a true force. Her love of history and archiving, passion and commitment to preserving our community's history will not be forgotten. She...Read More »
5 of 12 | Posted by: Teresa Durham - Battle Creek, MI

“May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. ”
6 of 12 | Posted by: Don and Sharon Gitberg

“May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories. I think of Mary and her quick bubbling laugh and fun whit. Our thought are with you and your...Read More »
7 of 12 | Posted by: William and Pat Stovall - Friend

“jim,, so sorry for your loss. Memories are so important and hope that you have lots of great ones.bnda3 ”
8 of 12 | Posted by: jim hanson - battle creek, MI

“Jim and family, we are so sorry to hear of Mary's passing. Our deepest condolences and prayers.Kay & Jim ”
9 of 12 | Posted by: Kay Galloway - Loganville, GA

“Jim, I'm very sorry to learn of your loss. You have my condolences. ”
10 of 12 | Posted by: William Stein - KALAMAZOO, MI

“We are so sorry to hear of Mary's passing. Mary was a brilliant person who did so much for our community.I have happy memories of Mary through the...Read More »
11 of 12 | Posted by: Sarah Hubbard - Battle Creek, MI

“I am so very sorry to hear about the passing of your dear wife, mother, and grandmother. My deepest condolences to Mr. Jim, Katherine, and Alex ”
12 of 12 | Posted by: Ruth TenBroek - Bellevue, MI


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Mary G. Butler, 80, of Battle Creek, died unexpectedly Friday, November 20, 2020. She was born September 23, 1940 in Wilmington, Delaware to James and Marjorie (Parsons) Gilruth.

Mary received her undergraduate degree with Honors from Swarthmore College and her M.A. from the Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware Early American Studies Program. Before coming to Battle Creek she served as Executive Director of the Baltimore, Maryland, Historic District Commission as well as Assistant Director of the Territorial Restoration in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mary was the Director of the Research Center of Heritage Battle Creek and the Sojourner Truth Institute of Battle Creek, Michigan. She was the author of a recently published biography of Sojourner Truth for middle school students, which was named a Carter G. Woodson Honor Book by the National Council for the Social Studies in 2004. Mary was the founder and editor of Heritage Publications, which has produced a series of eleven volumes of local history as well as monographs and special issues. The publication program has received several awards, including two Awards of Merit from the Historical Society of Michigan and the Award of Commendation from the American Association of State and Local History.

Mary was recognized as a Humanities Scholar by the Michigan Humanities Council and an accredited Architectural Historian by the Michigan Department of Arts and Libraries, Bureau of History.

Mary is survived by her husband, James Butler; her daughter, Katherine Butler; a granddaughter, Alex Koller and a great-grandson, Oliver Koller. She was preceded in death by her parents.

The family has requested that the funeral services to celebrate Mary's life will be by invitation only due to current government regulations. A public gathering will be scheduled sometime in the Summer of 2021. Interment will be at Oak Hill Cemetery. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.