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Kathryn L. Butler RN

May 12, 1938 ~ October 17, 2019 (age 81)


Kathryn L. “Kay” Butler RN passed away Thursday, October 17, 2019 after a brief illness. She died as she lived every day, with her loving children holding her hands. Kay was born on May 12, 1938 in Phillipsburg, New Jersey to Edith Edwards O’Connor and Edward Thomas O’Connor Sr. She grew up in a multigenerational household, among 13 aunts and uncles and her doting grandparents, who spoiled her rotten.  She was blessed with a baby brother, Edward Thomas O’Connor Jr. She was pre-deceased by a sister, Margaret, who sadly died in infancy. The family later moved to Jersey City, New Jersey where Kay attended St. Dominic’s Academy and the Christ Hospital School of Nursing. She met her future husband, James A. Butler Jr., who pre-deceased her, at a dinner party. After they married, they relocated to Trumbull, Connecticut. Jim served as the First Selectman of Trumbull for four terms, and Kay was an active (if not particularly enthusiastic!) participant in politics. When Jim became ill over an extended period late in his life, it was Kay who heroically took care of him, providing daily care and comfort, always to the detriment of herself. Two words always come to mind when thinking of her. Love and Laughter (no, not coffee and cigarettes)! Wherever Kathryn was found there was a limitless supply of love and laughter. Never one to back down from a fight, Kay fought a courageous battle with her illness, inspiring her fellow patients and caregivers. Kay (aka Ahma aka BB aka Estelle) remained a working nurse for close to 60 years. She was especially proud of the time she spent working with the mentally ill at Fairfield Hills Hospital and often fondly recalled stories of the time she spent there. She was also a huge fan of the New York Giants, the UConn women’s basketball team and Marquette basketball. She would often be found anchored to the couch whenever her team was playing. Kay cherished her friends. She spent numerous hours with her bff of more than 50 years, Cele McDonald, talking on the phone like a couple of teenagers. She will certainly be missed by her friends Mary, Sharon, Joan and Jackie who Kay saw as blessings in her life. She especially adored her niece, Kerry Ellen Fisher, and loved looking back at all the wonderful years spent at the Jersey Shore with Eddie, his wife Ellen, the Callaghans, the Mackies, and the Sheekeys. Later in life she became friendly with Mother Dolores Hart who lives at the Abbey Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Mother Dolores was a former movie star who devoted her life to serving her faith. Kay adored Mother Dolores and all of the strong, inspiring women of faith who serve at the Abbey. She always enthusiastically looked forward to her trips to Bethlehem just to be in their presence. In the months following her diagnosis, Kay’s daughter Regina bought her a French bulldog who she named St. Ignatius Loyola. “Iggy” always excitedly bounded into the house and immediately found Kay. He would then give her countless kisses and snuggles giving Kay a much needed distraction from her illness. Her family was her light. She was determined that her children, Regina M. Butler and James E. Butler achieve their goals and more often than not sacrificed her own personal needs to accomplish this. Anytime she would bump into someone who would ask about her kids, she would undoubtedly take the time to brag that both of them had become lawyers and actually practiced together. She was head over heels in love with her grandson, Lucas Cafaro. She was overwhelmingly proud of his accomplishments, particularly his graduating from Fairfield Prep, a school that Kay loved and supported with all of her heart. Her family would like to thank Kay’s neighbors and dear friends the Hellthalers for always making sure she was safe, happy and well. They would also like to express their gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses and techs who treated her throughout her illness. Kay would never have been able to express how grateful she was for the wonderful care she received at the Smilow Cancer Center (but she tried to show it by baking her delicious coconut cupcakes). She would undoubtedly want to thank Dr. Mike, Tara Franco, Jo, Lisa, Kim, David, Ryan, Brian and Rene, for all of the laughs, optimism, generosity, comfort and positive energy they shared during her illness. Please join the family for Mass in her honor on Friday, October 25th at Christ the King Church in Trumbull, Connecticut at noon. A memorial brunch or “Irish Wake” will immediately follow at Tashua Knolls Golf Course Restaurant, also in Trumbull. For those unfamiliar with this tradition, “The main activities of the Irish wake are enjoying food and drinks while telling stories. While people enjoy their time together, pictures of the deceased are on display. The reason behind this tradition is giving room for the guests to remember things about the departed and share them, mostly with happiness and laughter.” A few tears are allowed. Bring a good story or two to share. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that, in her memory, any donations be made to Abbey Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. To send online condolences please visit

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Mass of Christian Burial
October 25, 2019

12:00 PM
Christ the King Church
4700 Madison Avenue
Trumbull, CT


Mother Dolores Hart Abbey of Regina Laudis
273 Flanders Road, Bethlehem CT 06751

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