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Shelter Island Reporter obituaries: Butts, Ward


George Edmund Butts Jr.
George E. Butts Jr. of Shelter Island, former dog control officer here, died at his home on September 5, 2017. He was 82.

George was born May 20, 1935 to George E. Butts Sr. and his wife Madeline (Mitchell) in Southampton. An only child, he grew up in Sag Harbor and graduated from Pierson High School in Sag Harbor. He served in the United States Army Reserve from 1956 to 1959.

He worked as a contractor and eventually took over the family business, George Butts Builders.

Mr. Butts was mayor of Sag Harbor from 1985 to 1991. He moved here 17 years ago, he said in a 2008 Reporter interview, because its “like Sag Habor used to be.”

Animals, especially dogs, played a big part in his life. When he married Nancy Friscia, who grew up in Bensonhurst, she recalled in the Reporter profile that she went straight from the wedding to an animal shelter to get a dog of her own because she’d never before been allowed to have one. Ardent animal lovers, they were stalwarts of the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) of the Hamptons, homing animals that were difficult to place.

Mr. Butts was a member of the Coast Guard Auxilliary, the United States Power Squadron and the American Legion Post 388 in Sag Harbor. He was president of the St. Andrew’s Chuch Parish Council and served on the Board of Directors for the Sag Harbor Yacht Club and in the Sag Harbor Fire Department, Gazelle Hose Company.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Butts is survived by his daughters, Katherine Butts Gregg (Jeffrey) of Shelter Island and Jacqueline Butts Minetree (Lee) of Wainscott; his son, George E. Butts III (Jennifer) of Sag Harbor; eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His grandson George H. Butts predeceased him.

A visitation was held on Friday, September 8 at the Yardley & Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor, followed by a private burial. Memorial donations may be made to ARF of the Hamptons, PO Box 901, Wainscott 11975, the Cormaria Retreat House, PO Box 1993, Sag Harbor 11963, or the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation, PO Box 547, Shelter Island 11964.

Barbara Ward
Barbara Ward of Rye died peacefully after a short illness at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut on September 17, 2017.

She was 87 and had spent many summers at her beloved Shelter Island home.

She grew up in the village of Kingsland, Herefordshire England, and graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Birmingham. In London she worked for the Fulbright Scholarship Program, supervising and assisting visiting scholars from the United States. In those days she played tennis and was a forward for the South of England field hockey team in regional competitions.

She visited the United States where she met her husband, Sedgwick Ward of Wilmington Delaware. They were married in 1960.

After a short stay in Washington D. C. the couple moved to Brooklyn Heights where she was active with the Girl Scouts and the Junior League. She served for a number of years as the secretarial assistant to Msgr. Charles Diviney, the Vicar General of the Brooklyn Diocese.

In 1973 the family which by then included a daughter and son moved to Summit, N. J. and then to Rye, N. Y. in 1998. From 1968 on they spent summers on the Island, where they owned a much beloved home.

Family and in later years especially her five grandchildren were the focus of her life, her family recalled.

For Barbara tennis held a fascination both as an active sport and as a spectator. She sailed on cruises with her husband in on Long Island Sound and on the coast of Southern New England.

A guiding passion was her love of, instrumental, choral and operatic classical music as well as drama and ballet. She had danced as a ballet student in England. She and her husband spent countless evenings at performances in New York. An opera buff, she was a fan of many of the reigning singers and delighted particularly in opening night at the Met.

A love of fine art led her to undertake the definitive biography of Jervis McEntee, a 19th century landscape painter of the Hudson River school. The book, completed shortly before her death is expected to be published soon, her family said.

She is survived by her husband; daughter, Mary (Michael Beran); son, Andrew (Arden); granddaughters Caroline, Sarah and Lucy Beran;  grandsons Christopher and Tucker Ward, and by her brother Eric Wall of Chichester England, sister Sheila Bulbeck of Litchfield, England and numerous nephews and nieces.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Cornelia Connelly Center for Education (Holy Child, Connelly Middle School) 220 East 4th Street New York, NY 10009.

A mass will be said at Resurrection Church in Rye at 10 a.m. on Monday September 25.

On Shelter Island, there will be a graveside service at the Our Lady of the Isle cemetery at 11 a.m. on September 26.