Aileen Sterrett Butts went to Heaven on Wednesday, February 22 to joyfully meet her Lord and Savior and join a host of beloved family and friends.
Aileen was born October 30th, 1931, the middle of three daughters to Cecile Gordon and George Melvin Sterrett. She lived her entire life in Dexter, the small community she loved. Aileen was a lifetime member of the Little Gray First Presbyterian Church where her paternal grandparents had been among the founding members. In this church she was raised, baptized, and married to her high school sweetheart Norman W. “Babe” Butts on June 12, 1949, and here they also raised their children.
As a youth, Aileen was in the junior choir and church youth group. As an adult, she took an active role in the life of the church. She served as a Deacon, taught children’s Sunday School, was a member of the adult choir and Ollie McNeil Ladies’ Circle and participated in children’s Bible schools and Bible study groups. Through outreach programs, Aileen enjoyed working at Loaves and Fishes food pantry and the school backpack program.
A celebration of life will be held in this same church, the Little Gray First Presbyterian Church of Dexter, at later date.
Aileen spent her school years attending Dexter Public schools, located right across the street from the Sterrett family home. Prior to graduating in 1949, she enjoyed and was involved in all aspects of school life. Along with her husband, she continued to support all school activities and to be a life-long sports fan. She served as a PTA membership officer, room mother, senior class trip sponsor, and a member of the booster club. Later in life, she was pleased to be inducted into Dexter School’s Hall of Fame.
Aileen’s career with the U.S. Postal Service began as a clerk at a contract Post Office station. It was housed in the former location of the Orchard Park German Prisoner of War Camp which was converted into a housing area for Walker Airforce Base families. After that assignment came an additional 35 years with the U.S. Postal Service. She served the Dexter Post Office at various levels from temporary clerk, to regular clerk, and then Postmaster until retiring in 1987 along with her husband, Norman, who retired as the Director of Mail Processing from the Roswell Management Sectional Center.
During that time, she also served as Officer in Charge of the Hagerman Post Office during a Postmaster vacancy. Aileen loved working for the U.S. Postal Service and found it a pleasure to provide the area with mail service. During these years, she found joy in promoting Dexter pride by sponsoring events such as community appreciation days and art shows featuring children’s art along with local artists. She created bulletin boards recognizing community leaders and highlighting special community achievements.
On the side, Aileen worked as a news writer for Earl and Ann Stratton during the years they published weekly newspapers – the Dexter Tribune and the Hagerman Star. They later combined to be known as the Star Tribune. Following retirement, Aileen and Babe enjoyed traveling across the U.S. to visit family and friends and stayed involved in the church and community. They felt very blessed by dear friends of all ages and treasured a lifetime of memories made with their daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Aileen was preceded in death by her parents, George and Cecile Sterrett, her husband Babe and sisters Betty Rachkowski and Alice Westreich.
This compassionate and humble lady modeled unconditional love for others, always seeking and seeing the good in all. She put others first and will be greatly missed. She was very creative and made any occasion special, with well planned and beautifully decorated celebrations. She “lived” her Christian Faith and was an inspiration to so many. Throughout her life she made everyone feel valued. She let them know how special they were and sent many cards and letters of support. She encouraged people to “be” their best. She and Babe were extra Grandparents to countless young people who meant so much to them.
Left to cherish her memory are daughters Debby Morgan and husband Tom of Colorado Springs, CO, and Cindy Vallaster of Bartlesville, OK. 5 grandchildren, Sarah Dankesreiter and husband Tommy of Lubbock, TX, Cameron Morgan and wife Allison of Pittsboro, NC, Valerie Morgan and Kevin Russell of Carlsbad, N.Mex., Lindsay Vallaster of Stillwater, OK, and Emily Goodwin and husband Jason of Bartlesville, OK. Great grandchildren are Alyson, Noah, Nathan, and Hailey Dankesreiter, Cecile and Lincoln Morgan, and Tyler and Laura Goodwin. Also surviving are many dearly loved nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Aileen to First Presbyterian Church P.O. Box 367, Dexter, New Mexico 88230-0367 or charity of your choice.