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UP mourns 'mother' Shari Butler

Beloved housekeeper for Corrado Hall passed away Sunday

By Kate Stringer
On April 18, 2013

Tears, hugs and dozens of students filled Corrado chapel Monday evening to grieve the loss of "loving," "funny" and "self-donating" Corrado housekeeper Shari Butler.

Butler, who had a brain tumor, died unexpectedly April 14 at her home in Scappoose, Ore. Butler, 42, had three children, UP alumna Debbie Miller and students Brett and Kurt Reeves.

She graduated in 1989 from Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Wash. and worked in the Air National Guard for nine years before returning to Scappoose.

For the past three years, Butler worked as a housekeeper in Corrado Hall. Pastoral resident Fr. Gary Chamberland said in his homily Monday evening that Butler served the UP community in more ways than one.

"Shari wasn't a housekeeper, she was a person who lived in our lives to take care of us," Chamberland said. "It was that wonderful multiplication of love that never ran short, that had a time and a moment for everybody to give of herself endlessly without ever hitting the bottom of her reserve."

In an interview with The Beacon last fall, Shari described how much love she had for UP students.

"Mostly I hug them, I tell them I love them, which I do because I love every single one of them, and I tell them it's going to be okay," Butler said. "I will hold them until they are done crying."

Housekeeping and Events Manager Tony Torres said Butler gave "110 percent" in both her job and her relationships with the people she loved.

"Shari was always open, energetic, friendly with everybody," Torres said. "She was not just a co-worker but a very good friend."

Senior and former RA of Corrado Hannah Billett returned to the dorm Monday night to celebrate Butler's life.

"There was a lot of grief, confusion and frustration, but being together sharing stories and remembering Shari - there was such joy in that," Billett said. "In that grief, we were able to connect in that joy that was her."

Students in Corrado remember Butler as both a mother and a friend. Three - year Corrado resident and junior Mary McIntosh found trust and companionship in Butler when she first encountered her cleaning the showers freshman year.

"The first time I went to take a shower, she was there cleaning," McIntosh said. "Twenty minutes later, I've told her about my fears, my hopes, my major, all while standing there with my towel and shower caddy."

Butler was also a practical joker. She was known for hiding Clarence, the Corrado Mascot, pulling pranks on RAs and TPing rooms. Sophomore Loren Westland enjoyed the sarcastic banters he and Butler would have.

"She started wishing me an average day when I made the point of saying 'Have a great day' was too much to live up to," Westland said. "She always had a different spin on life - a sarcastic as hell one."

McIntosh recalls how Butler also loved her Corrado residents as children.

"We all came to realize how important Shari was, how special it was to have her," McIntosh said. "She would set aside all her fears, worries and concerns and focus on yours when you needed it."

Besides her children, Butler is survived by her mother Judith Dodd, father Terry Butler, best friend Travis Miller and brother Bill Butler. A celebration of life will be Saturday at noon in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher.

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