Mildred Butler

Obituary of Mildred Holladay Butler

Mildred Holladay Butler (Millie), 87, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, passed away peacefully at home on August 27, 2019.  She was born to the late Lewis Holladay, Jr. and Mildred Holladay, on January 6, 1932 in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Millie studied music at Randolph Macon Women’s College and graduated in 1954.  She married the late Wallace Butler in 1954 and they settled in Chatham, New Jersey after Wally completed his military service.  They had 4 children: Ellen, Elizabeth, Daniel, and Susan.  Millie began teaching nursery school in 1965 and taught kindergarten for over 20 years at St. Andrew’s School in New Providence, New Jersey.   Eventually, Millie and Wally retired and relocated to Hilton Head in 1989.  Millie made it about a year in retirement before the longing to teach led her to the Day School at the First Presbyterian Church.  It was there that Millie spent the 2nd part of her teaching career touching the lives of countless children and families with her infectious love of nature, joy in a good book, and music that engaged even the most reticent child.  She retired from the Day School in 2009 to spend more time home with Wally.  

Millie lived and breathed music.  Along with being an accomplished pianist who could pretty much step in whenever and wherever needed, Millie shared her appreciation of theatre, choral, folk, and, of course, children’s music with everyone around her.  While in New Jersey, Millie was involved with Chatham Community Players as a rehearsal and orchestral pianist in numerous productions.  In Hilton Head, she was an active member of the Sanctuary Choir and New Voices Choral group at the First Presbyterian Church.   At the spur of the moment, Millie could be - and was - called on to fill in as organist during Sunday services and accompanist for choir rehearsals.  At the Day School, Millie composed and shared wonderful musical experiences with her children, touching their lives with that special magic music provides.

Millie also had a profound love of the natural world and conservation.  She loved to watch the storms roll in from her window, feeling the energy and wisdom of nature.  She introduced her students to the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and the sea turtle and made them aware of the dangers each faced due to the impact of man.  When an opportunity arose for her students to experience nature, she jumped on it.  From observing bird nests in playground equipment to studying a spider’s web with the early morning dew glistening on its strands, she enchanted the children with this appreciation of the world around them.

Mildred is survived by her brother, Lewis Holladay III (“Pete”) and his wife Phebe; children Ellen Ward and her husband Mark, Elizabeth Butler and her husband Rick Kovar, Dan Butler and his wife Heidi, Susan Butler and her wife Regina Stripe; 9 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren and countless friends, students, and families whose lives she touched.  She was preceded in death by her parents and Wallace Butler, her loving husband.

The family wishes to thank Hospice of the Low Country, Right At Home, and Assistance Plus for all the care and support they provided in Millie’s final weeks.

A Celebration of Millie’s Life will be held in October at the First Presbyterian Church in Hilton Head.  Details are still to be determined.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Monarch Butterfly Fund:

“Goodnight noises everywhere”.     

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