Mary Elizabeth Butler, 91, housekeeper, deaconess

September 25, 2004

Mary Elizabeth Butler, a retired domestic worker and deaconess in her Elkridge church, died of complications of pulmonary hypertension Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The East Baltimore resident was 91.

Born Mary Elizabeth Simms in Elkridge, she attended the Gaines School near her childhood home.

Mrs. Butler did domestic work, including housekeeping, for many years until retiring in 1980. Among her employers was A. Aubrey Bodine, the famed Sun photographer.

"She was playful, energetic, generous and a disciplinarian," said her daughter, Rachel McClellan of Baltimore. "She would tell you the pure truth about yourself."

Mrs. Butler enjoyed baking and was known for the apple dumplings, cakes and pies she offered to her guests with coffee.

Her husband of 57 years, Harrison Joseph Butler, a chemical plant worker, died in 1986.

She was a member of Unity Baptist Church, 7204 Montgomery Road in Elkridge, where services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday. She was ordained a deaconess there in 1947 and sang in the gospel choir.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include a son, Clarence C. Butler, and two other daughters, Catherine Adams and Mildred Burgess, all of Baltimore; 18 grandchildren; 20-great-grandchildren; and 10 great-great-grandchildren. A daughter, Etta Butler, died in 1996.

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