BYS honors Ellie Butterfield with dining room dedication

Thursday, September 20, 2012
From left, Rick Butterfield, president of Butterfield Youth Services Board of Directors, and his mother, Ellie Butterfield, who was honored Saturday, Sept. 8, when BYS dedicated the dining room in the renovated South Ranch to her. Ellie worked for BYS for 35 years. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

A small framed sign reads, "Welcome to the Eleanor Butterfield Dining Room."

Above it is a photograph of the woman most in the Marshall community know as "Ellie."

The dining room at the newly remodeled and extend South Ranch for girls was officially dedicated to Butterfield in a ceremony Saturday, Sept. 8, with residents, BYS board members and Butterfield's former co-workers there to mark the occasion.

This photo of Ellie Butterfield, taken soon after she joined the BYS staff, adorns the wall of the Eleanor Butterfield Dining Room. (Contributed photo)

But the real welcome sign was bigger, took up a large portion of one wall and lit up the room with its colors.

A quilt.

Quilts are a fitting symbol of BYS, according to Butterfield, because quilts mean comfort. And providing comfort for the troubled children it serves is the first priority of BYS.

For much of the 35 years Butterfield worked at BYS as donor correspondent she coordinated the annual quilt show and auction, which brought in money to help the cause, and she helped round up quilts for the BYS kids.

So it was fitting, too, for the Eleanor Butterfield Dining Room decorations to be dominated by a colorful quilt.

The design of the quilt was by the late Betty Jones, and it was one of the last she did before she died. It was quilted by Doris Collier. Both were long-time contributors to the BYS quilt shows.

"They would always send quilts for the kids, too," Butterfield said, and remembered a favorite saying, "God bless the child who sleeps under a quilt."

When Roy Morrill, executive director of BYS, made a few comments to mark the dedication of the dining room, he shifted the focus to another prominent furnishing in the room -- the dining room table.

"If you need a logo for successful child rearing, it would be a dining room table," he said. "It's a symbol of caring. Ellie cared. And cared. And cared."

His comment prompted a memory for Butterfield that confirmed his point about the welcoming, caring table. She recalled a young boy who soon after arriving would hide with his food.

"He was afraid someone would take it," she said. "He didn't know he could have seconds" at BYS.

Joanie Coble, development and human resources coordinator at BYS, described trying to find the right photo of Butterfield to adorn the dining room wall.

She said there were so many she was tempted to cover the wall with them.

"But Ellie said just one," she said. And Coble knew the right one when she found it. "It's elegant, just like Ellie. So to the girls of South Ranch, you have this image of an elegant lady to look over you."

Butterfield retired from BYS in August 2009.

Contact Eric Crump at

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  • I had the pleasure of visiting with Ellie this week in the Dr. waiting room. There are not enough Ellie's in this world. Wonderful woman.

    -- Posted by Cat Lover on Thu, Sep 20, 2012, at 4:26 PM
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