Anna Marie Butler
June 13, 1938 – March 8, 2021
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of a dear wife, wonderful mother and grandmother, Anna Marie Butler of Lebanon, Oregon. Anna Marie passed away peacefully on March 8th, 2021 at Evergreen Hospice House with her family by her bedside.
Anna Marie was born on June 13th 1938 in Crookston, Minnesota, a small Norwegian farm town, to Samuel and Anna Knutson. Her family then located to Vanport, Oregon in early 1941 and were one of the first families to move into one of the completed apartment buildings. Her family lost everything in the big Vanport flood of 1948. This was often a story her children would ask her about. They started over in North Portland where Anna Marie spent the rest of her childhood. When Anna Marie was in high school, she decided to travel far from home to attend Augustana Lutheran Academy in Canton, South Dakota. It was there that her love and talent in music grew. Anna Marie also sang with the Concordia College choir in Moorehead, Minnesota. During her choir years at Concordia she had the honor of singing for President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon. That same trip included a solo performance at Carnegie Hall. Her dream was to become a professional singer but God had other plans for her. After high school Anna Marie enrolled at Lewis and Clark College where she majored in early childhood education and of course focusing on music. It was in the college choir where she met the love of her life, Peter Butler, Jr. Peter had noticed that Anna Marie always had a large group around her. With a voice and personality like hers it was no surprise.
Anna Marie married Peter in Portland, Oregon on June 30th, 1962. They settled in Sacramento, CA where Peter was stationed with the 724th Air Force Band at Mather AFB. Soon after, they were relocated to McChord AFB in Tacoma, WA. Their first daughter Rebecca was born in 1963. After Peter was discharged from the Air Force, the family moved several places depending on job locations. Anna Marie, worked as a preschool and special ed teacher during their years in Woodburn, Oregon. In 1972, Anna Marie and Peter made Lebanon their forever home. Anna Marie became a homemaker, often babysitting, teaching Sunday school, teaching private voice lessons, singing in the church choir, running community organizations and of course sharing her musical talent. In 1976, Anna Marie and Peter welcomed another daughter, Rachel. Lebanon was home and Anna Marie often said how good the town had been to her family. In 2004, she and Peter were named Senior Citizens of the Year for Lebanon. Those who knew her say she was an angel on earth, never hearing a mean word come out of her mouth. She never complained and saw the good in everyone. She was so proud of being 100 percent Norwegian. Faith and her church family were so important to Anna Marie. She also loved to share her Norwegian traditions with all of her friends. Four trips to Norway were a dream come true for her. Being a Grandma “Bagga” and “MorMor”, was her absolute favorite role. She always carried around a small brag book with photos of her five grandchildren. So many will miss her, especially that beautiful mezzo soprano voice that was truly a talent given to her by God.
Anna Marie is survived by her husband of 58 years, Peter, daughter Rebecca Stein (Randy) of Concord, CA, daughter Rachel Nalum (Bjorn) of Lake Stevens, WA and her five grandchildren “barnebarn” Roxanna Louise, Rockwell Eric, Sander Samuel, Tilda Marie and Jonas Kristian. A brother, Samuel Knutson also survives. She leaves behind a brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, many nieces and nephews who will miss her so much. She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Anna Knutson.
The Butler family would like to thank the wonderful care Evergreen Hospice House gave her as she transitioned into Heaven. Because of Covid regulations, the family will hold a celebration of life outdoors later this summer. Viewing will take place on Monday, March 15th from 4-7 PM at Huston-Jost Funeral Home in Lebanon. Anna Marie will be laid to rest at Willamette National Cemetery in Happy Valley, OR.
To leave an online condolence for the family go to www.hustonjost.com