April 16, 1908 – Oct. 5, 2012
Catherine S. Butler, a former teacher at School 3 and School 28 who drove a sports car during much of her retirement, died Friday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a short illness. She was 104.
Born Catherine Schwartzott in Buffalo, she spent her early years living above her father’s general store, Schwartzott’s, on Seneca Street at the Buffalo city line. She graduated from Buffalo Normal School and the new Buffalo State College Rockwell Campus. She loved to tell her family about how Dr. Rockwell caught her one day driving down the campus sidewalk, thinking it was a street.
She was the college’s oldest living alumnus and watched her granddaughter Allison graduate from the school when Mrs. Butler was 99.
A longtime resident of Hamburg, Mrs. Butler started her teaching career in 1929 at School 3. Other teachers had trouble with the sixth-graders in her charge and had quit, but Mrs. Butler wasn’t about to do that at the start of the Great Depression, said her daughter, Susan R. Hoak.
“I’m staying,” she told her bosses, according to her daughter. “ ‘I’m getting a paycheck,’ and she just waited the kids out.”
She taught several years at the school before resigning to start and raise a family and resumed her teaching career in 1950 at School 28 in South Buffalo. She retired in 1971.
Her husband, Joseph E., died in 1962.
As she grew older, Mrs. Butler spent several weeks in Florida each winter.
Shopping for a new economy car at age 65, she spotted a 1971 green GTO convertible, took it for a spin, and drove the car until she was in her mid-80s. The license plate on the speedy sports car read: GRAMMA B.
“She loved that car,” her daughter said.
Survivors, beside her daughter, include a son, Timothy.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 26 Thorn Ave., Orchard Park, after prayers at 9:15 in Amigone Funeral Home, 6170 Quaker Road, Orchard Park.