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03/27/16 - NNHS Newsletter -
Frances Leigh Butler

Frances Leigh Butler
(20 Oct 1922 - 24 Mar 2016)

Newport News High School Class of 1940

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   
  We have still more sad news today.
  Frances Leigh Butler, Class of 1940, passed away in Hampton on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at the age of 93.

From the Daily Press - 03/27/16:

                   Frances Leigh Butler


HAMPTON - Frances Leigh Butler was one of a kind. The spirited red-head was born in Newport News, Va. on October 20, 1922 to the late Eva Chandler and Walter L. Leigh, Sr. and died peacefully on March 24, 2016 at the young age of 93.

She was a proud 1940 Newport News High School graduate who never missed the opportunity to show off her cheerleading skills, and through the years proudly served on her class reunion committee.

Following graduation from Newport News Business College, she was hired by NACA (NASA), where she met her husband T. Melvin Butler. They both enjoyed being involved in community activities within their beloved city of Hampton.

Frances volunteered at the Hampton Library, and was a devoted member of the Hampton History Museum, Virginia Air & Space Center, The American Theater, the Pine Cone Garden Club, the Woman's Club of Hampton, and the East Hampton Neighborhood Association.

As a woman of great faith, Frances was missions chairperson for her East Hampton United Methodist Church for many years.

She considered her neighbors as family. To say Frances never met a stranger is an understatement.



She was curious about the world, and loved to hear about the adventures of her friends. Exercise was important for the physical benefits, but she especially enjoyed the chance to chit-chat with others during her three days a week in Body Renewal (Body Recall) with her dear friend, Domenica Jernigan. She brought the class homemade cookies or cupcakes on special holidays, dressed up as the Easter bunny on Easter, and rotated costumes at Halloween, including court jester, Raggedy Ann, witch, clown, and hippie. She would drive around town in her outfits to make people smile, a tradition her daughters will carry on.

Frances was a wonderful mom and a bragging Meemaw who took delight in spending time with her grandchildren. Every time she was with them was cause for a celebration, she said.

Frances was preceded in death by her husband, parents, and brother Walter L. Leigh, Jr. and wife Louise.

Survivors include daughters Deborah Butler, and Cynthia Focke and her favorite son-in-law Joe Flanagan, grandchildren Allison, Patrick, and Adrianne Focke, niece Bonnie Daughtry and husband Donald, nephew Stuart Leigh and wife Donna, and their families.

Frances' family is grateful to Annette Grant for her devoted help during the past year, and would like to thank everyone for the condolence calls, texts, and emails with the wonderful Frances stories.

A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m.. March 29 in the R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home chapel, 245 S. Armistead Ave., Hampton, by the Rev. Ed Merry. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Park.

The family will receive friends from 5:30 to 7:30 March 28 at the funeral home.

Remembrance donations may be made to the Hampton Woman's Club for a scholarship in her name, or East Hampton United Methodist Church.

Her family would like to ask a favor: In her memory please consider doing something kind for someone else because that is the way Frances lived her life. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in Daily Press on March 27, 2016.
View Guest Book


March 27, 2016

We have such fond memories of "Meemaw", with her kind spirit and zest for life! Although she will be greatly missed, she will never be forgotten! The Touhey Family

~ Betsy Touhey, Virginia Beach, Virginia

March 27, 2016

I will miss you and all the fun things you did to make others happy. Most of all thank you for the socks. Sorry we didn't get to to do the lunch we were going to do, when the cold weather was over. I will always feel blessed because I knew you.

~ Encie Teets, Hampton, Virginia

March 27, 2016

I will always have with me cherished memories of Frances and Dominica at the Fat Canary Restaurant.

~ David Ricker, Williamsburg, Virginia

March 28, 2016  

My mom, Ann Millner, and I met Frances at the beauty parlor. Getting to see and chat with her there quickly became our favorite reason for going! I feel honored to have gotten to know her. I hope to be able to emulate her wonderful and caring ways. She was a jewel!

~ Robbie Deskins, Virginia


March 28, 2016

It was my pleasure to know Francis through the Senior Center of York exercise classes. She was the sunshine in the class. Francis was a delight to know, fun, enthusiastic and ready to go. She will be missed and remembered.

~ Dee Davis
, Yorktown, Virginia

March 28, 2016


~ LEW, Virginia

March 28, 2016

Cindy and Joe and all the Butler family,

I'm sorry to learn of your mother's passing. I know you will miss her dearly.

~ Kathryn Barrett, Virginia Beach, Virginia


March 29, 2016

~ Beverly Geer, Fairmont, North Carolina

March 29, 2016

Dear Ones,
Frances brought so much joy to our world. I am smiling through my tears, as I remember the twinkle in her eyes and the giggle always on her lips. After our move from Hampton, Bart & I loved sharing emails and chats with her. Her love for her family, her faith in God and love for her ever widening circle of friends expressed itself in all her life. She leaves a special legacy for all of us to follow her lead. God welcomes her to her heavenly reward. Love you, dear Frances. Love never dies.

~ Unsigned

March 29, 2016

  I actually met Frances at the Library Gift Shop. She and Tootsie Chandler shared the shift before my own on Fridays. That meeting grew to a friendship between us and we shared many happy luncheons out and enjoyed many happy conversations. During that time I had "A Valentine Tea" every February at my home and Frances and Tootsie were always in attendance.

Due to some life circumstances, I stopped volunteering at the library and lost contact with Frances over the past few years. She has crossed my mind so many times over the past months. I was so sorry to hear of her passing. As you have stated so well in your tribute to her, she leaves a wonderful legacy of friendship, joy, smiles and laughter. I feel truly blessed to have called her my friend.

I hope that your family finds comfort in knowing how much she has touched other people's lives.

~ Barbara Hearn, Hampton, Virginia

March 29, 2016

Cindy and Joe. Prayers for your every comfort during this difficult time. Beautiful memories to treasure.

~ Barbara Mingee, Hampton, Virginia

March 30, 2016



   Our sincerest condolences are extended to Mrs. Butler's family and friends at this difficult time.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309

Servant of God, Well Done!

Words by Charles Wesley (28 Dec 1707 - 29 Mar 1788)

Music by George J. Elvey (27 Mar 1816 - 09 Dec 1893)

(The Methodist Hymnal, 1966, #288)

Wesley wrote this hymn in 1770 on the occasion of the death of clergyman George White.
Elvey's tune, "Diademata", has been set to several other hymns, notably "Crown Him with Many Thorns" and "Soldiers of Christ, Arise".

 Servant of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare’s past;
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last.

With saints enthroned on high,
Thou dost thy Lord proclaim,
And still to God salvation cry,
Salvation to the Lamb!

O happy, happy soul!
In ecstasies of praise,
Long as eternal ages roll,
Thou seest Thy Savior’s face.

Redeemed from earth and pain,
Ah! when shall we ascend,
And all in Jesus’ presence reign
With our translated friend?

"Servant of God, Well Done!" midi courtesy of - 01/13/06

"Servant of God, Well Done!" lyrics courtesy of - 01/13/06

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 03/15/05

Flower Bar 59 Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 01/09/11

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