Mary (King) Butler was born in 1942 in King and Queen County, Virginia. Her parents are Hayes and Blanche King. Her father’s parents were Archie King, Sr. and Rossie King. Her mother’s parents were Joshua and Peggie Whiting. Mary is the oldest of four children. Her two brothers were born in 1943 and 1951, and her sister was born in 1961. Her nuclear family lived close to her father’s parent’s farm in Plainview, VA. Her family was active in both Union Prospect Baptist Church and First Baptist Church.
Butler worked often on her grandparent’s farm as a child. Butler and her siblings would walk eight to nine miles to school until buses began to pick them up in the town of Plainview, which was still three miles from their house. A few years later they began to be picked up by bus at their house. Butler’s family did not have electricity until she was twelve years old. Her mother taught her and her brothers how to cook, wash, and clean.
When Butler was thirteen years old she moved to Philadelphia to live with her father’s uncle and his wife. They lived on 13th St. and Norris St. She attended Kensington High School for Girls and graduated in 1960. After graduation she was employed at The Blum Store on the corner of 13th St. and Chestnut St. She was later employed for the state and worked with mentally handicapped children, and then later at The Ivy-League School. She married her husband in 1963 and moved to West Philadelphia. Her and her husband had twin daughters born in 1965 and another daughter in 1974. In 1966 Butler and her husband purchased and moved to a house a few blocks northwest of La Salle University, close to what today is The Shoppes at La Salle shopping center.
Butler began working as an office assistant in the History and Foreign Languages Departments in 1978. During this time she assisted John Rossi, George Stow, and other faculty in the History Department. She then accepted a position as Administrative Assistant and Office Manager in the University Communications Department in the early 1980s and remained in this role until she retired in 2007. During this time Butler assisted both Robert Lyons and Joseph Donovan. When President Clinton visited La Salle University in October, 1999, she handled many of the phone calls made to the University Communications Department to protest.
Butler and her husband continue to live in their home that is located in the neighborhood of La Salle University. All of their daughters are married and they have five grandchildren. The oldest grandchild is twenty-eight years old and the youngest is five. She stays very connected to her daughters and grandchildren. Butler obviously cares deeply for her family and people around her and expresses her care and love in very tangible ways to them.
Butler, Mary and Bower, Zach, "Interview of Mary Butler" (2013). All Oral Histories. 47.
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