Audrey A. (O’Connell) Butler
Audrey Ann Butler, age 81, of Jordan (formerly of Chaska), passed away peacefully in her home the afternoon of Monday, July 14, 2014. A Memorial Gathering will be held on Friday, July 18, 2014 from 9:30 – 11:00 AM with Memorial Service at 11:00 AM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation, Jordan. Audrey will be laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Monday, July 21, 2014.
Audrey was born in Minneapolis on August 4, 1932 to Raymond and Mary (Boyle) O’Connell. Audrey was the youngest of four children. Throughout her life, she and her three siblings remained very close and maintained a strong family bond, spending holidays together and talking on the telephone frequently.
During Audrey’s youth, one of the places the O’Connell family lived was at Gray’s Bay in Wayzata. Audrey spent her summers swimming and fishing on Lake Minnetonka. Audrey attended and graduated from Central High School in south Minneapolis. Audrey excelled at her art classes and enjoyed her high school years. Because of a pair of shorts that didn’t meet the length specifications of Audrey’s home economics teacher, the teacher failed her, and Audrey had to make up a class during summer school. It was during summer school that she met her future husband, LeRoy (Roy) Butler.
For their first date, Roy took Audrey to Lake Calhoun, where they played jacks. They dated for several years and then married on November 22, 1952. Shortly after their wedding Audrey and Roy moved to the Naval Base at Solomon’s Maryland where Roy served in the Navy. Audrey loved the ocean and her time spent in Maryland. After the Navy, they moved back to Minneapolis and Roy attended college and graduated with a teaching degree. They moved to Chaska in the early 1960s when Roy accepted a teaching position for the Chaska School District.
Audrey met many of her good friends during her years living in Chaska, and kept in contact with many of them. It was with one of these friends that she started Acorn Acres Nursery School, the first nursery school of its kind in Chaska. Audrey enjoyed all of the children she taught during her nearly15 years at Acorn Acres. Staying true to her passion for education, Audrey then began working for the Shakopee School District. She managed their duplicating office until she retired in 1997.
Audrey had an adventurous spirit. She and Roy went on annual canoe trips with a group of friends, canoeing on various rivers, such as the St. Croix, Mississippi, and Minnesota Rivers. Audrey loved to travel when she had the opportunity. One of her favorite trips was the one she took several years ago to Nova Scotia. She also enjoyed her trips to Mexico, including a month-long stay in Mazatlan with her cousin. Audrey was also very artistic and loved to paint, sketch, and sew and was an excellent cook. She enjoyed spending time with her friends and family, playing cards, going to the movies, cooking, shopping, and laughing.
Audrey was a strong woman who faced life’s hardships with a steadfast resolve. In 1980, Roy passed away unexpectedly due to accidental death and she had to be both mother and father to their three children, Patrick, Teresa, and Mary. In 1993, her son Patrick was diagnosed with AIDS, and she took excellent care of him until his death in 1995. She especially loved being a grandma to Riley, Rebecca and Hayley and treasured all of her time spent with them. All three of them called her “Amma”, the name given to her by her eldest grandchild, Rebecca.
Audrey will be greatly missed by her daughters, Teresa Butler and Mary (John) Whipps; grandchildren, Riley Worden, Rebecca Wiseman and Hayley Whipps; siblings, Raymond O’Connell, Fabian O’Connell, Mary Joan (Thomas) Meagher; brother-in-law, Phillip (Mary Jane) Butler; sister-in-law, Shirley Moeller; other loving relatives and friends. Audrey is preceded in death by her husband, LeRoy Butler; son, Patrick Butler; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth O’Connell, Loretta O’Connell and brother-in-law, Richard Butler. John Whipps will act as urn bearer.
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