The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

March 5, 2013

Finally graduating at 106 years old

BEVERLY, Mass. — As one official after another stood up to praise him, Fred Butler was ready with the occasional comment.

“I voted for you,” he told Beverly, Mass. Mayor Bill Scanlon.

“I remember when you played football,” he said to Beverly High School Principal Sean Gallagher.

At 106, Butler doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody. But his bantering showed that even at his age, his mind is sharp enough to merit the honor he was finally given yesterday.

Butler, the city’s oldest resident, was presented with an honorary high school diploma in a ceremony in the Beverly High School library.

Sitting in a wheelchair, his winter coat still on over a buttoned-up sweater, Butler appeared to be overcome by emotion when School Committee President Maria Decker handed him his diploma and the audience of about 100 family members, officials and students gave him a standing ovation.

“I thank everybody who is responsible for this,” he said. “I certainly appreciate it.”

Butler, who was born in 1906, dropped out of school in the ninth grade to work full time in a printing shop to help support his mother and five siblings.

He went on to lead a good life, raising five children with his wife of 65 years, getting drafted into World War II at age 35 and working for the Beverly water department. But family members said he always regretted never earning his diploma.

“It never slowed him down or stopped him, but it prompted him to always send the message to his children and grandchildren of the importance of education,” daughter-in-law Cathy Butler said. “The first thing he always asks is, ‘How’d you do in school today?’”

His grandson, Mike Calabro, recalled looking forward to the $5 he would get from his grandfather for every A on his report card.

Text Only
Lifestyle
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee