Obituary for Mary Butler
MARY VICTORIA (TORY) BUTLER
Written by Tory’s lifelong friend, Patricia Whiting
My friend Tory was:
It is impossible to find words that describe the brilliant, dynamic, bright-as-a-shooting-star presence that was Tory. It’s like trying to hold a sunbeam in your hand – it can’t be done. She would chat up anyone, store clerks, people in the elevator and even if she was only interacting with them for a few minutes she would start using their first name like it was on a name tag!
Kids LOVED her! She was Aunt Fun. I remember her making faces at the supper table when Eric was about 4. She’d say “no more faces at the table”. Then when no one was looking she’d make a face at him and send him into shrieks of laughter to her own amusement.
Everybody has a “Tory story” and it usually starts like this: “Oh my gosh, do you remember the time Tory said…” and you can never finish telling it without slapping your knee and laughing hysterically. If you’re telling it to a person who doesn’t know Tory they won’t get the joke because they can’t picture Tory telling it. She was the queen of facial expressions; she could send you into fits of laughter with just the cock of an eyebrow or a quizzical stare.
Tory was not averse to several things, most notably a (large) glass of wine, wearing her bathing suit through the Eastdale cafeteria, leading conga lines, lip-synching to the theme from “Flashdance”, and lounge-singing in a Cuban piano bar. She lived life large.
My high school years were full of spark thanks to Tory. We passed notes as thick as novels all day long and then when we got home promptly at 5, Tory would phone to talk for two hours before her dad got home from work. She was a bright student, always doing enough to stay on the honour roll but not studying so hard that it detracted from her raucous euchre games at lunch with her equally raucous partner, Tracy. Scoring a mere point could result in shrieks and fist pounding on the table.
Years later Tory found a best friend and partner in her husband Jason. This seemed to bring Tory a new-found confidence and sense of peace. The arrival of her daughter Kate was the jewel in the crown as Tory was so proud of every accomplishment of Kate’s: her kindest student award, her cross country running events and the many times she made her mom laugh. Tory proudly told me one time Kate had been voted “person who makes the best faces” by her friends. No surprise!
Tory’s heart was as large as her personality. She would pick “a little something” up for you, and especially your kids, just because. After the passing of her beautiful mother Linda, Tory was the centrifugal force in her family, always quick to brag about her nieces and nephews and a great support to her brothers, Matt and Pete. In true Tory form her idea of Christmas Eve was fun, not fancy. Everyone showed up in pajamas and feasted on turkey sandwiches and fries followed by a trip to the candy table. This was her style.
“The (red) flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” (Lao Tzu) This was Tory.
A private celebration of Tory’s life will be held in May. In lieu of flowers, donate to your favourite charity and celebrate a “Tory Day” – time filled by doing whatever you want, wearing something pink, eating sweets, drinking good wine or bubbly, and by being kind.