Thursday, April 30, 2009

Play Ball!

Lou Butler - baseball player
Summer, 1951

In February, 1951 Lou was discharged from the Navy for the second time after serving in the Korean War. (More about that later.) That summer the family returned to Colorado State College of Education in Greeley, Colorado to continue his education. True to form, Lou found time to play ball of some kind - this time softball.

"Kansas" Softball Team - Summer 1951
All States Softball League - CSCE
Lou Butler -- front row, far left

The recreation department at CSCE organized a “States Softball League” each summer, and I played with the Kansas team. We had a lot of fun, played often, and won most of our games. We also got games outside of the league. For one game we went to Berthoud to play, and our manager/player from Chicago gave us each a name of a famous baseball player on the lineup he handed to the announcer. The crowd got a big kick out of hearing Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and other big baseball names – especially when they beat us badly! We played together for three summers, with few changes each year.

I wonder which big name Dad was . . .

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Five Generations

Five Generations
back row l-r: Rachel Wilson Patterson Davis - Dora Alice Davis - Charles Harker Davis
front row, l-r: Jeremiah DeBolt Overturf - Nancy Overturf Patterson

Once again, I'm uncertain how to identify the relationship of the extended family! But since this blog is focused on Louis Butler, he will continue to be the point of reference. You'll have to use your relationship to him to figure out the relationship to those featured here.

Louis Edward Butler

As I've studied this picture, I've wondered how and when it was taken. It almost looks like a composite of pictures, but we know that Photoshop would not have been available! The little girl, Dora, died in December, 1893 - so I'm assuming it was taken before then.

Do you know have any information about this picture or any of these family members? Feel free to share!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Matters of [her] Heart

When Dad recorded the events of his first heart attack, his account was brief, matter of fact, and to the point. But as you might imagine, Mom remembered many more details than he shared - the memory of that event is probably etched in her mind and heart forever!

View overlooking Hawthorne, Nevada
Clearly not a booming metropolis!

We had been visiting Chuck (Tom) and Carol in Hawthorne, Nevada for several days in March of 1983. Hawthorne was a very small town. Chuck and Carol did their shopping at Falon, which was 70 miles away. [And I'm guessing that Hawthorne lacked a major medical center that would have excellent cardiac care.]

Lou had chest pains the entire day while we were driving from Hawthorne to Kaysville, Utah to visit Lou and Colleen. Lou didn’t tell me about the chest pains until the next day. We even stopped at an Italian restaurant and ate a big meal along the way. If I had known about the chest pains, we would have gone to the hospital instead of the restaurant.

The next morning we drove into Salt Lake to go to the Church Distribution Center. While we were there, Lou said he didn’t feel well and went out to the car. Since Lou never complained much, I thought I’d better check on him. When I went to the car, I decided we’d better call the paramedics. The Distribution Center had its own paramedic team which came out and started checking Lou. They also called the fire department paramedics who put him on a stretcher in the parking lot. An ambulance took him to LDS hospital in Salt Lake - one of the paramedics said they were very good with heart patients - and I followed in our car.

They checked him out at the hospital and said there was no evidence that he had had or was having a heart attack. Lou said he felt fine. I asked them to keep him overnight for observation. That evening while Lou was eating his dinner, he started having chest pains again. I called the nurse, and she called the doctor. The nurse took me out in the hall and said Lou was having a heart attack. Lou always told of how they took him up the hall into the elevator and to the heart cath lab in such a hurry that they bumped into the walls a few times.
It must have been quite a ride!

At that time [the drug]
streptokinase was being tried in just four hospitals in the United States, and LDS hospital was one of those. Streptokinase was supposed to dissolve the clot blocking the artery. They did give Lou the drug, and he said within 15 minutes his chest pain was gone.

Lou said the doctors kept talking, trying to make up their minds about something [when they got him to the cath lab.] They decided to do a balloon dilation to the artery while he was still in the lab. Later the doctor said that Lou had made the medical history books. He was one of the first 15 to 20 people to receive streptokinase, and he was the second person at LDS Hospital to receive the two procedures (streptokinase to dissolve the clot and balloon dilation to open the artery) at the same time.

We were definitely in the right place at the right time for him to receive excellent medical care.

Our friends could not believe that Lou Butler could have a heart attack. He was slender, played ball every week and didn't smoke or drink. But his gender, genes and age (he had just turned 60) were against him. Lou had very little damage to his heart, and he recovered in a very short time. This may have been due in part to his good physical condition. A few weeks later he took a treadmill test. He did better than 95% of men his age (not those who had had heart attacks.)

Lou said it was the first time he had time for a heart attack. He had been released as the Stake President in January and retired from the school district in March. We had a lot of plans for the months following his retirement, and we were able to do all of those things, because he recovered so quickly. We visited our kids, vacationed with
Clark and Carolyn Harriman in Port Aransas, Texas, and took a trip to Mexico.

A couple of significant events that occurred at the time of this heart attack:
  • This area of Utah experienced a "100 year" east wind storm. I could not open the car door because the wind was so strong. Lou, Jr. would have to help me get in the car so I could go visit Lou in the hospital. I parked in the parking garage at the hospital so I was out of the wind and could get in and out of my car by myself!
  • Our grandson, Matthew, was born while Lou was still in the hospital (April 3)
Recovering Grandpa - Grandma - new baby, Matthew Aaron
April, 1983

Monday, April 13, 2009

Matters of the Heart

Lou following first heart attack
April 5, 1983
LDS Hospital - Salt Lake City, Utah

While in Utah at the end of March 1983, Leona and I were in the Distribution Center in Salt Lake when I experienced my first heart problems. The paramedics came and transported me to LDS hospital in Salt Lake City where I had a heart attack after being admitted! I had good care and recovered well and resumed normal activity.

It's amazing to me that Dad lived more than 20 years after this first heart attack - 20 years that were filled with a lot of visits to family, church service, travel and great life experiences. Those years were a bonus for all of us as they allowed us to have Lou/Dad/Grandpa as a part of our lives during his retirement years. What a blessing!

This was Dad's journal entry -
very brief for such a significant event! I can add a few details, but I'm sure that Leona can add even more. I'll update this post after getting more information from Mom - or anybody who wants to share information through a comment or email to me. Feel free to share your memories.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Virginia and Kathryn - Double Trouble

Entrance to Bessemer School after numerous renovations.
Lettering was part of the original school built in 1931
photo courtesy of flickr

Virginia taught first grade in my school [Bessemer], and her sister, Kathryn, taught in a nearby school. I had been told that they went down to a liquor store every evening and would go home and drink [their purchase]. Then quite often Virginia would call me on the phone and proceed to tell me all of the mistakes she thought I had made, and how unfair I was, and how I was not qualified to be a principal, especially because I was a Mormon.

I could always hear Kathryn in the background telling Virginia something to say to me. After criticizing real or imagined events of the day, she would always say, “I don’t know what you think you are doing here in this good Catholic community when you are nothing but an ‘old Mormon.’”

I would let her go on until I would finally tell her I had other things to do and would say “Goodnight,” and hang up. Sometimes when my brother and his wife were at our house, I would put the phone down in the middle of the carpet and we would each lay with our heads near the phone and listen.

I felt certain that she was drinking at school occasionally, but she would never let me get close enough to smell the alcohol. One night during Open House, I was pretty sure she had been drinking. She never had many parents attend, and when she had no parents, I went in and tried to make small talk and get close enough to smell the alcohol. She kept the desk between us. I would wander around the desk, she would too, never letting me get close. She finally said, “I know what you are doing, and if you ever try to take my job, I will take you to court and I’ll win because I have more money than you will ever have!”

The Superintendent of Schools used to ask me about these sisters. He had been the principal of Bessemer and had both of them at one time. One Sunday morning I got a call from the Superintendent, and he informed me that Virginia had died. She “fell” down the stairs, which was probably the result of a fight (which was a frequent occurrence.) The paper called it a heart attack.

Monday morning when I arrived at school, a parent was waiting for me and really lit into me. She said that Virginia had called her Friday night and she was sure that the teacher was drunk. She (Virginia) told the mother that her son was an imbecile and should not be in public school, but in an institution. She said many other insulting things about not only the child, but the parents too. When I was finally able to get a word in edgewise, I said, “Did you know she died yesterday?” She said, “Well, I don’t care! But I guess there is nothing else to talk about,” and she left.

And you think you've got problems at work?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Picture this family - Charles and Cora Butler

The following pictures are of Charles Llewellyn and Cora Melvina Wisemiller Butler and their children. Pictured with the family are Cora's grandparents, Sarah Isabel Hatherly and William Kimball, Jr. (You can find them on this pedigree chart.) In a couple of pictures we also see Cora's Aunt Jennie (Jessie?), a younger sister to Cora's mother, Martha.

Cora and Charles Butler family - about 1912
front row: Charles - Sarah Kimball - Beulah - William Kimball - Cora
back row: Ida - Jesse- Sally - Joe - Cora's Aunt Jennie (Jessie?) - Roy - Bea - Edwin - Susie Belle

William Kimball with his great-grandchildren
Edwin (Jeff) - William - Susie Belle - Beulah (in swing)

Cora's Aunt Jennie with the little girls
Susie Belle - Aunt Jennie (Jessie?) - Beulah (on lap) - Ida

Several Generations
Sarah Isabel Hatherly Kimball - William Kimball
Cora's Aunt Jennie (Jessie?) - Roy - Cora Melvina Wisemiller Butler

Recently I've felt very drawn to this family and have begun looking for any information I can find about them. If you have anything to add or leads to follow, please leave the information in a comment or email me.