RAPID CITY | An ardent champion of her family, friends and those less fortunate, Mary Kathleen (Kellar) Butz passed away peacefully on June 19, 2019. Although her physical presence has just left, the Mary we knew has unfortunately been gone for over a decade due to Alzheimer’s dementia.
Mary was born Dec. 31, 1949, in Somerville, MA, to Donald and Rita Kellar. She was the second oldest in a family of five siblings. The family moved around in her early childhood living in Newcastle, WY, and Edgemont, SD, before settling in Rapid City when Mary was in elementary school. She graduated as a Cobbler from Rapid City High School in 1968. She attended Temple Buell College in Denver for two years before finishing her physical therapy degree at Texas Woman’s University in 1972. After graduating, she married Gerald Butz in Rapid City on July 21, 1972.
Mary was a loving individual who made an impact on many people’s lives as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, physical therapist and volunteer. Having initially met her future husband as neighbors, their paths eventually crossed again by fate (and choice), with the rest being history. Marrying a physician in training, she and Gerald spent time in Houston, Chicago and Seattle before eventually settling back in Rapid City in 1978.
Mary had two sons, Abraham born in 1977 in Seattle and John born in 1982 in Rapid City. She ran the household and put her career on hold while raising her kids and attending more sporting events than she should have had to.
Her warm heart led to a fulfilling career as a physical therapist with a focus on childhood development and later to multiple volunteer roles within the school system and city before developing early onset Alzheimer’s dementia. Given more time, there is no doubt she would have continued to have a positive impact on those she met. Unfair is an understatement when it comes to the effect that Alzheimer’s has on those it afflicts and their loved ones, but Mary handled every step with character and grace.
Her family appreciates all the support they have received through the years and knows that Mary would have as well.
Mary was preceded in death by her mother, Rita Marie Kellar. She is survived by her loving husband, Gerald; her two sons, Abraham (Megan),Tampa, FL, and John (Kirsten), Rapid City; her father, Donald Kellar, Rapid City; her siblings, Ann Kellar, Renton, WA, Joseph Kellar, Mukilteo, WA, Thomas (Teresa) Kellar, Rapid City, Jim (Ann) Kellar, Newcastle, AUS; and her grandchildren, Monroe, Alivia, Audrey, Aspen, Austin & Gwen.
A Celebration of Life will be held later this summer.
In lieu of flowers, Mary’s family would ask that you consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.