Shirley F. Butler was born Sept. 29, 1935, in the family home of Ralph Sr. and Nan Heaton Strotheide of Hay Springs, Neb., and passed away on Aug. 8, 2017, in Rapid City, S.D. She attended grade school in rural Sheridan County near the family ranch.
After graduating from high school in 1952, she attended Chadron State College and began teaching at age 16. After three years of teaching, she was married to James B. (Bud) Johnson of Hay Springs, Neb. To this union, three sons were born – Larry, Jerry, and Gene. After the death of Bud in 1959, she returned to college and received her degree in 1965. She taught one year in Hyannis, Neb., then married Gary L. Butler, of Chadron, Neb. To this union were born twins – Tim and Tara.
Teaching was a driving force in her life and she worked as a substitute teacher for many years in Kansas while the children were small. In 1978, she and the twins moved to McCook, Neb., and lived there for six years before moving to Chadron in 1984 to be near her elderly mother. She, then, taught in rural Dawes County schools for many years.
She was a member of Eastern Star of Hay Springs and NEA.
She is survived by her five children: Larry Butler (Gail) of Colorado Springs, Jerry Johnson of McPherson, Kan., Gene Johnson (Danette) of Andover, Kan., Tara Butler of Sheridan, Wyo., and Tim Butler (Amy) of Madison, Ga., 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
She volunteered at the library, participated in multiple books clubs, card clubs and Bunko. She enjoyed her dogs and horses over the years, including her current dog, Mister.
Funeral arrangements will be in Hay Springs, Neb., on Saturday, August 19 at 10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church. A Celebration of Life will be in Rapid City, S.D., at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, August 18 at the Canyon Lake Senior Center.