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Shelbyville County News (IL)

Kaye Burnett (Taylor) Butler passed away unexpectedly Thursday afternoon, March 17, 2011, in Eldorado, Illinois. She was 72.

Kaye was born Sept. 18, 1938, in Eldorado, Illinois, the only child of Bratcher Harold Taylor and Barbara Burnett Taylor.

Her father was well known in this community as a manager at the Chevrolet Dealership and at CP Burnett Bank. Kaye’s mother, Barbara, was a beautician and eventually became a sorority house mother at a number of universities including Purdue, DePauw University, the University of Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan and Millikin Universities. Barbara was sister to Bruce, Camela, Regina and Rex Burnett.

Growing up, Kaye was surrounded by much loved family and was particularly close to her cousin, Hal Bruce Burnett, who was also an only child. She graduated from high school in 1956 and proceeded to MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois and then to the University of Illinois in Urbana, where she met her husband, Robert Maclin Butler. She graduated from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois in 1962 with a degree in home economics.

In 1958 Kaye married Robert (Mac) Butler in a formal wedding gown of her own design and handwork at her home church, Calvary Baptist in Eldorado. They moved from Southern Illinois to Central Illinois where they resided until 2006 when they returned to Eldorado to retire at the Butler home built by his parents, Wilburn Thomas Butler and Lillian Julia (Birch) Butler.

Upon graduation from college at Millikin University, Kaye became an active and outgoing civic leader in her community, Decatur, Illinois, rallying for women’s and children’s rights. She worked for the Macon County Department of Public Aid and ascended to Vice President of the League of Women’s Voters. She was passionate about women’s rights and thoroughly enjoyed advancing that cause from the 1960s throughout her entire life.

Well-educated and astute in music and art, Kaye enjoyed beautiful things. She had a critic’s ear for classical music and developed a broad collection of music that she loved. She was well informed on art history and spent considerable time in art museums. Kaye raised her children, Hal Maclin and Kathryn Elizabeth, to know and appreciate history, art and literature. Kaye traveled to Europe twice to visit her daughter, Elizabeth, who studied there; taking in art, cathedrals, and museums and was pleased to have visited Crathes Castle, a Burnett castle in Scotland to which she traced her ancestry.

She and Mac shared a mutual love for history, which spilled into everyday life. Together they purchased and fully restored a Victorian home in Shelbyville, Illinois, where they resided from 1972 to 2006. Filled in part with original furniture from the old Walker home, they passionately researched and decorated it to embody a typical Victorian era home. Mother loved china and glassware and developed an extensive collection of Haviland. From her late-twenties she was a member of Samuel Elder Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and assisted in the establishment of Shelbyville’s chapter of Children of the American Revolution, in which both her children were active. She and Mac were supporters of the local Shelby County Historical Society and enjoyed sharing their considerable knowledge of genealogy and historical research with their community.

In the 1980s Kaye became the County Supervisor for the Federal Aid Program, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), where she participated as a nutritionist and guide in the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged young mothers, educating them on proper nutrition and child care. Her love of cooking was shared not only with these young women, but by close friends in Shelbyville, which ultimately led to the co-founding of an informal dinner club affectionately called, “the Gourmet Club.” Mac and Kaye, along with up to 12 other couples, met monthly at each other’s houses to share life (and food) together. The Gourmet Club was central to their lives and they developed devoted and life-long friends that they met with for nearly 30 years. Within this group Mac and Kaye shared the trials and tribulations of raising families, the love and joy of life, and lately the sorrows of friends passing.

Kaye was preceded in death by her parents and one child, but is survived by her husband, Mac; daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Doug Woning; son, Hal, his wife, Hiley Butler and their children Shane Ritenhour, Amanda Butler and Robbie Butler.

Memorials be made to the 1st Presbyterian Church of Eldorado or the donor’s choice.

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL