Linda Gayle Butler
January 10, 1947 – October 9, 2019
Linda Gayle Butler, age 72, died peacefully in her home surrounded by friends and family in Sunrise Beach Texas on October, 9, 2019. Born to Nettie and Ocie Goleman in Fort Sill Oklahoma, Linda spent much of her life traveling as a ‘military brat’ and was deeply influenced by the time her family spent in Japan.
Linda attended college at Texas A&I University and it was there that she met Fred, through her cousin John Pearson. A night of dancing at the Pink Panther in San Antonio with USAF 2nd Lieutenant Butler cemented the courtship, and Linda and Fred were married at the chapel at Fort Sam Houston on Feb 24th, 1968.
Shortly after their marriage, Fred was assigned a tour in Southeast Asia and Linda returned to the University in Kingsville, TX where she completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Home Economics. Linda was an Alpha Delta Pi, president of the Women’s Pan Hellenic Council and a US Army ROTC Cadet Lady. One of the most meaningful personal connections that this time yielded was her relationship with Penny Garner, now Penny Lee, who remains a close personal friend to this day.
As Urban Legend goes, Linda lived on hot fudge sundaes while Fred was in Southeast Asia and Fred grew a rust colored handlebar mustache. Newly married, and transformed by the angst of separation and the Vietnam War, they walked past each other without recognition during their first R&R reunion.
After Captain Butler’s return in 1969, the young couple was stationed in Biloxi MS, Keesler Air Force Base. Here, Linda was active with the American Red Cross, helped to organize the POW Bracelet Campaign and hosted many affairs for the Military Assistance Program. Linda’s intelligence and deft creative abilities were evident in everything she turned her attention to. In 1971 her best-to-date creative endeavor emerged, and Lisa Dawn Butler was born.
Over the next 22 years, Linda and Fred traveled the world and landed in a diverse range of places - Texas, Virginia, California, Greece and Belgium. While not flying planes, making friends, entertaining and richly contributing to the communities they lived in – they engaged in other extracurricular activities and, in August of 1975, the rosy cheeked Butler Dynasty heir apparent, Christopher William Butler, was born.
While Fred’s magnetic sociability was the foreground, Linda’s exceptional artistry underpinned and elevated everything they did. Their home was always beautiful and open to friends, and Linda’s cooking rivaled the best of chefs. If she wasn’t planning and executing a complex military function or party for friends – she was keeping Fred and the children in check verbally with frequent directives to ‘go suck an egg’ or ‘fry ice’. When Fred’s ambitions got too lofty, Linda’s acerbic wit and grounded pragmatism quickly brought them back to earth.
After an illustrious military career full of international intrigue, travel and exceptional friendships, Fred and Linda retired in 1992. They moved to Austin, Texas and dreamed about what post- military life would look like. Overachieving Fred had his Masters in Guidance and Counseling, so they loosely settled on opening a counseling office. Linda promptly returned to school for her masters certification and it is arguable whether the degree or the chance to leave Fred with the kids and the laundry meant more.
Newly degreed, Linda was promptly hired as Executive Director of the International Hospitality Committee, a non-profit that worked with the UT Austin International Office to assist foreign students. The UT International Office was so impressed with Linda, that they hired her as the UT Foreign Student Advisor, where she happily remained from 1994 to 2007. In this role, Linda loved and advocated for her ‘kids’ and they, in turn, loved her right back. Co-workers Deane Willis and Francis Lewis became friends for life.
Post a second round of careers and retirement, Linda and Fred relocated from Austin to Sunrise Beach, where they took over the family Lakehouse and turned it into their dream home. Fears that there would be ‘nothing to do’ in the Texas Hill Country were quickly allayed, and Linda took turns presiding over the CCAA and VFD Auxiliary, drove for the ‘Beachers’ marching lawn-chair brigade and hosted an annual ‘Trick or Drink’ party. For the last leg of their journey together, fate had brought Linda and Fred into the fold of an exceptional community of loving friends and allies. Linda thrived and flourished in her windowed house on the edge of the water. Marauding squirrels feared her accurate BB gun, and everyone else looked forward to her company.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents ‘Tiny and Ocie’ and her grandchildren Giovanni and Abby. She is survived by her husband Fred, children Christopher and Lisa, granddaughter Isabella, Sisters Kay (Auntie Cake) and Gerry, and two slightly neurotic cats, Mouse and Moose.
- *** All Services Are Pending ***