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Isabel Butler

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Isabel Butler

September 5, 1921 - March 29, 2012


Gently, on March 29, 2012, Isabel Butler slipped away and came to the end of a long and full life. Born in Nelson on September 5, 1921, Isabel spent her entire life in her beloved Kootenays. In 1904, her father William (Tim) Lane and paternal grandparents left England and settled in
Nelson. Her mother, Mabel Margaret Wilson, also from England, arrived
in Nelson a few years later. In 1914 Tim and Mabel were married in Nelson and in 1917 they moved to Ainsworth, spending their first seven years in a rustic cabin on the beach, from which they operated their livery stable business. A few years after Isabel was born, her parents moved to their permanent ranch home on a bench above Ainsworth, which was known as the “Good Luck Claim”. The Lane ranch, cut out of virgin wilderness, was complete with flower gardens, orchards, hay fields, a dairy herd, and market garden, which augmented the family’s dwindling cartage business. For a time during the depression, the Lane family operated the Silver Ledge Hotel in Ainsworth, where Isabel claimed she learned to be the fabulous pie maker she became.
In 1941, Isabel married Walter Butler, whose family had settled in Kaslo in 1900. Like her own family, Walt’s family were dedicated gardeners, and Walter and Isabel created beautiful gardens together, even in the inhospitable landscape of Zincton, where the family lived for10 years while Walt was the mine assayer and Isabel had her first four children, Barry, Janice, Marguerite and Carol. The family moved to Kaslo in 1952, to a property across the lane from Walter’s family home, where Isabel had two more children, Paula and Dean. She also grew and preserved a huge fruit and vegetable garden and for many years won top honours in Kaslo flower shows. In later life Isabel worked in the Kaslo Post Office and became very active in community life. She served as an alderwoman on Kaslo Village Council for four years and as Mayor for another two, was a founder of the Kaslo home support services, and a key contributor to the efforts to restore the SS Moyie, serving as the Chair of the Moyie Restoration Committee over several years. During those busy years, Isabel also helped to launch the fundraising to build the Abby Manor
and served as a local marriage commissioner, holding many happy weddings in her own home and garden. She loved and took much pride in her community, her family, her home and her fishing boat, in which she spent many hours on the lake she so loved. Isabel is survived by her loving sister Mabel Stainton of Nelson, daughters Janice, Carol and Paula, daughter-in-law Lesley and sons-in law Keith, Rick and Christian, grandchildren Michael, Rebecca, Theressa,
Robert, Paul, Megan, Lise and Jennifer, and great grandchildren Jacob, Erika, Sofia, Brendan, Jasmine and tiny Estelle, whose proud parents Paul and Josh had hoped to introduce to great-grandmother Isabel this spring. Over many years, Isabel’s life was enriched by a large
extended family, and many wonderful nieces and nephews. Her family is deeply grateful for the compassionate care she received in her final years from home support workers and staff at the Victorian Primary Health Centre. A memorial service and celebration of Isabel’s life will
be held in Kaslo on May 12, 2012.In honour of Isabel, an early planting of annuals would be a lovely gesture. She especially loved sweet peas, which she would pick when she went out into her garden at the crack of dawn to harvest the best of the day, the coffee brewing, the lake sparkling in the distance and an early morning north wind promising clear skies and a perfect summer day.


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff

Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff send our condolences to family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

From: Jana Sabrina Mayrhofer (Harmon)
Relation: close friend - news in paper

In loving memory of Isabel Butler who became a close friend by surprise and to be close to the family (Lanes) of which my grandmother Polyann Anderson was a cousin 1st removed to Unis Lane and refered to as the Lane Farm in Ainsworth.

Isabel was always a sterdy woman and in pleasant dispossition to all. I have a part of her garden she shared with me, called ‘loveage’ and think of her often. She was an encouragement to me in my endeavors with the Kootenay Lake Historical Society when I directed and produced Vaudeville Shows on the landing dock of the S. S. Moyie in Kaslo and she was especially fond of the production ‘ghostwalk’ in the interpretation of our history. May I send my l ove with her soul on her adventure beyound our knowing. I shared many heart felt conversations with her; she was a pure gem.

From: Joyce Davidson
Relation: No relation

May you be at peace Isabel. From Joyce Davidson

From: susan mckeen-brown
Relation: client through home care

I very much enjoyed knowing Isabel.

From: Gordon and Anne Gaskell
Relation: Friends

Isabel…A tribute to a great lady of strength purpose and determination, without whom we should never have “Saved theMoyie”.
Farewell Isabel from the Gaskells

From: Dan Pasemko
Relation: A friend

Dearest Isabel:
She was my boss – who became my inspiration and my friend.
Such a fine, fine person.

From: Andy Shadrack and Gail Bauman
Relation: No relation

Our condolences to all of Isobel’s family. She played such a big part in our community. Unfortunately we will be away on the date of the memorial, but we will be there in spirit.

From: Beth Beynon
Relation: none

The obit in the Pennywise was beautifully written and produced. I did not know Isabel, but I do appreciate the affection that was so clearly expressed. I’ll plant some sweat peas for her. God bless.

From: Darlene Smith (Johnson)
Relation: Friend

My mother tells me Janice was one of my Sunday School teachers. Margie was my babysitter. Sister Carol & I share the same birth date. As a pre-teen on Friday nights I would walk down to Butlers. I was allowed to watch “Lassie”, “My Favorite Martian” + half of “Ed Sullivan” on TV before Carol walked me part of the way back home.

My first experience planting potatoes was with Carol, under Walt’s direction. To my young eyes, the Butler’s garden was huge! Although hunched over, Walter was always smiling.

The Butler’s Kaslo home was a house of order; specific items had their places in the garden shed, the back porch, the kitchen, etc. Isabel’s resourfulness valuated items as “perfectly good” & useful; a type of 3Rs approach long before same became popular.

Isabel had an inquiring mind & would search for information until she was satisfied. She was a strong, commanding woman with a thoughtful & considerate approach. She said she liked to read mystery novels at bedtime to unwind.

As a nurse, my mother (Mary Johnson) sometimes worked night shift. My father carpooled during the wee hours to work at Blue Bell Mine. Margie Butler would bring her white train case to our house & sleep over until Mom got home. Once Carol & I were playing on a manual typewriter & got the keys all jammed. We thought we were in big trouble & I thought I’d have to use my savings for repairs. Margie saved the day by fixing it!

In highschool I applied to the Recreation Commission for a grant to operate a summer program for preschoolers. I hired Carol as my assistant.

After university I returned to the Kootenays to work as a social worker. My family increased & I opted to be a stay-at-home Mom & sub teacher, employed as Visitor Services Manager at the S.S. Moyie National Historic Site in the summer. Isabel was chair of the KLHS. We bunked together at a conference in Lake Louise and I learned of her political savvy. Adversity visits every family, evenso Isabel found ways to carry on & kept herself strong & enduring for many years.

From: Darlene Johnson
Relation: Family Friend

Thanks Janice & Paula for facilitating Isabel’s memorial service. Isabel was one of the pillars of the Kaslo community, alongside my mother & a handful of others, during my lifetime. I appreciated her example. She was the mother of my babysitter (Margie) & the mother of my childhood friend (Carol). As a youth, I looked fwd to watching TV shows at the Butlers every Friday night. As an adult I worked with Isabel for the benefit of the S.S. Moyie National Historic Site & the Village of Kaslo.

Service Schedule


Date & Time:
April 2, 2012
Beginning at 3:00pm

Chapel of Thompson Funeral Service Ltd.
613 Ward Street
Nelson, BC Canada V1L 2T1

Private Family Visitation

613 Ward Street
Nelson, BC Canada V1L 2T1

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

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