This is the story of Marilyn Butler. Marilyn was a generous, loving woman who will be greatly missed. She was the type of woman who loved to give gifts and make people happy. She was known as “Shug” to her husband, “Zorba” to her children when they misbehaved and “Memaw” to all her grandchildren by blood and those she adopted as her own.

Marilyn Sue's story starts June 18, 1954, in Jacksonville, Florida. She was the third of six children born to Billy Dean and Marilyn Roberta Vannattan. Her siblings were, Bobby Dean (Linda), John Ray (Shelena), Billy Gene, Mikey and Patty. Marilyn Sue was a proud Air Force brat who moved around. She may have only been 5 foot 3 1/2 inches tall, but being raised with rough and tumble brothers left her a force to be reckoned with.

Michael Butler was struck by the beauty of a Native American woman modeling jewelry in a TV commercial. Little did he know that was the first time he set eyes on the love of his life. Her father talked them into going out on a date for the first time because he really liked Mike Butler and thought they would be a good match. They were united in marriage Oct. 1, 1977. Their marriage would survive raising four children, Marilyn's lack of time management and many food fights.

Marilyn was known for her cake baking and decorating skills. She didn't know how to make a small cake. If you timed your visit just right, you would be rewarded with the sweet top layer of the cake after she leveled it.

Marilyn loved all holidays. To her children’s horror, she bought a real casket to decorate her yard for Halloween. Her Valentine's box decorating skills were award winning. She would start planning them months in advance with the children. Christmas was a time of gift giving and shopping of epic proportions. She loved to give gifts for no reason at all but to make people smile.

Marilyn and Michael were baptized in their faith together Sept. 3, 2006, by the same man who married them, her uncle, Jim Eager.

Marilyn was proud to serve as mayor of the City of Orrick. She was a fighter who always had the citizen’s best interests at heart.

Marilyn and Michael raised four headstrong, stubborn children. Kimberly Dawn is their oldest. Marilyn was trying to find her a good man to marry until her final breath, so if you know of someone, please help fulfill that dream by setting her up. Laura Ann came next, bringing Jeff into the family as the red-headed stepchild. Michael Shawn followed bringing Robin as the kind, sweet daughter she always wanted. Last came Jordyn Kyle as the spoiled youngest child. He brings Stephanie No. 2 as his better half.

Marilyn’s grandchildren were loved beyond measure and spoiled beyond belief. The tallest of her grandchildren, Nathan, was born to Kimberly Dawn. Laura Ann gave her Stephanie, the singer; Kierstin, the artist; Mikey, the sweetheart; and Joey, the athlete. Michael Shawn gave her Brecken, the musician; and Brylen, the mastermind. Jordyn gave her Axel, the wonder mutt destroyer of toys, carpets and shoes.

She also leaves behind Bear, her four-legged, spoiled pup and Boo, the bird who loves to yell.

If you couldn't already tell, Marilyn loved to laugh. The best way to honor her is to share stories to keep her memory alive. Visitation and a celebration of life ceremony will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at the First Baptist Church in Orrick, followed by the ceremony.

In lieu of flowers, memorial suggestions are to the family to help cover medical expenses.

Gowing Funeral Home, Orrick, is in charge of arrangements.

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